Response of Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini and Yong Ping Chung
January 28, 2004
We issue this Response, as archbishops of the Anglican Communion, to the January 2004 document written by The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner entitled "A call to accountability: the parable of the AMiA."
The document demands a direct and clear response. It is incorrect in its facts and troubling in its spirit.
The author’s obvious and unwarranted hostility obscures his message, but it appears that he objects to three things: (i) some suggested refusal of accountability by the Anglican Mission in America, (ii) a perceived damage to the orthodox witness in the Diocese of Colorado and creation of obstacles faced by ECUSA’s opposition by the clergy and laity who are now in the Anglican Mission in America, and (iii) an asserted autonomous "self-ordering" by the Anglican Mission and its leaders.
We know that this error-filled document has recently been sent out all over the world on the Internet. It presents false allegations about the Anglican Mission in America and is full of distortions of the actual facts and gross misrepresentations of the events related to the founding and existence of the Anglican Mission in America. It is an attack by a parish priest in Colorado upon the actions and motives of three archbishops (++Tay and ourselves, ++Kolini and ++Yong) of the Anglican Communion. We – as the sponsoring archbishops of the Anglican Mission in America – reply to this "parable" in the name of honesty.
From the very beginning under the direct oversight of two Anglican Communion archbishops, the AMiA has concentrated and focused on the Gospel work we, as Christians, are called by God to do. We have sought not to get involved in criticizing and slandering the work and policy of other orthodox bodies. Though we have not been perfect in this regard, it is the desire of our heart. We want to work together. Despite the difference in approach and policy, we – as the Anglican Mission’s two primates - keep urging and exploring ways for orthodox groups in the United States to so work together for the sake of the Gospel. The battle in America is bigger than any one of us can do.
Let it be clearly and strongly stated that since its inception in July 2000, the Anglican Mission in America has been under our primatial authority. Its leadership has been accountable to us. It is beyond our comprehension that anyone at this point could be questioning that reality. The fact is that many of our colleagues who urged delay in a response to the crisis in ECUSA have since acknowledged that our action was necessary. In addition, the international understanding, encouragement and support for the Anglican Mission in America and its reason for existence continue to grow.
Blaming AMiA for the state of orthodox Anglican witness in the United States is inconceivable. Should we ask orthodox clergy to submit to a corrupt institution and weak or apostate bishops? Let it be said that the Anglican Mission in America is our response to the unilateral actions by the Episcopal Church in the United States over the last forty years in drifting away from the authority of Holy Scripture and the centrality of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. The blame for that which is happening in ECUSA and in the Anglican Communion should be placed at the feet of those in ECUSA who have turned away from Biblical Truth and the counsel of Lambeth 1998.
This attack on the Anglican Mission in America is based, in its essence, upon the tired, old arguments of institutional unity over Scriptural Truth, and, as such, we believe that it is simply wrong. Archbishop Tay has stated that "Biblical unity must come from being in Christ." I (Kolini) have said that "Biblical unity is found only at the foot of the Cross. The Gospel and its commands come first, then unity."
The charge of autonomous "self-ordering" by those faithful Christians in the Anglican Mission in America is both offensive and inaccurate. Those who have taken the time to meet with the godly men and women who have taken up this challenge know the truth. Those who, for whatever personal reasons, choose to slander the character of others say more about themselves than those they would harm by their words.
The document by Dr. Radner is not a "parable." It is a scandalous broadside attack against orthodox and faithful Christians within the Anglican Communion who took action in January 2000, almost four years ago to the very day in the consecration of missionary bishops, to provide a way for faithful Christians to remain in the Anglican Communion. The members of the Anglican Mission in America – at all levels - have taken seriously the admonitions of the New Testament (some of which are contained in Attachment One) to keep away false teachers, be not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, to come out and be separate from those who are not of God and to condemn (i.e., anathema) such. To attack these bold Christians who have sought to follow these Scriptural commands is not helpful. The document in question is apparently shaded by a personal bias and misunderstanding of the purposes by someone who was not a party to the events surrounding the founding of the Anglican Mission in America in July 2000.
It is of interest that Dr. Radner has publicly expressed in his statements at previous SEAD Conferences in Charleston, SC that the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s was a mistake. Therefore, many of his present comments are understandable in light of this unfortunate perspective, the essence of which is that institutional unity should be paramount above doctrinal orthodoxy. These comments against the Protestant Reformation from an Episcopal priest, benefiting from that very Reformation, are inconsistent at best.
It must be also noted that for Radner to compare ECUSA’s lack of discipline of apostasy and heterodox teachings and actions to the founding and Gospel-mission of the Anglican Mission is simply absurd. We must ask: Who is he – a parish priest in Colorado – to take it upon himself to attempt in such a public and provocative manner to make such an outrageous and erroneous accusation? In any event, the Anglican Mission is not a rejection of Christian accountability, but rather a personification of it under our primatial authority and accountable to us.
As the arcbishops of the Anglican Mission in America, we believe that blatant false teaching and doctrine as well as practice should not be accommodated by remaining in fellowship with those who espouse such. Efforts at drawing analogies from the Old Testament or 16th and 17th century history should not thwart what Holy Scripture admonishes. The foundation of the Anglican Mission in America is Biblical and in fact agrees very much with the witness of the Early Church.
The consecrations of Bishops Rodgers and Murphy were foreshadowed in the letter produced at the international meeting in Kampala in November 1999 of archbishops and their representatives from nine or ten Anglican Provinces. I (Kolini) chaired that very meeting. The letter statement resulting from that Kampala meeting clearly stated that "We assure you, too, that among us are those ready to respond to specific and urgent situations which may arise in the months before the Primates’ Meeting in Portugal from 23rd to 28th March. Parishes and clergy under threat because of their loyalty to the Gospel and to Anglican standards must be supported, and we will play our part in such support."
The pleas for intervention continued after the Kampala Meeting. In addition, the report of the fact-finding bishops to Presiding Bishop Griswold’s invitation to "come and see" became public in December 1999 after that Kampala Meeting; it was, according to The Church of England Newspaper, "damning" of ECUSA. Archbishop Tay and I (Kolini) acted in response to these continued pleas and the worsening situation in ECUSA.
I (Kolini) chaired those meetings, and I sat in on all of the conversations – both among everyone and privately along with Archbishop Tay among the Primates. I (Kolini) was also one of the consecrators in Singapore in the end of January 2000. The statement from that meeting warned that if nothing was done soon that actions would be taken. Thus, for anyone who was not present to now claim otherwise as to what was forewarned and transpired is disingenuous.
SINGAPORE AND AMSTERDAM
On January 29, 2000, the consecrations of two American clergymen to become missionary bishops of the Province of Rwanda to the United States took place at the hands of Archbishops Tay and myself (Kolini) as well as three other bishops of the Anglican Communion from two other countries than ours. This was a pastoral effort to help keep good Christians who were leaving ECUSA within the Anglican Communion and to charge them to carry out our Lord’s Great Commission. Many would have left the Anglican Communion altogether but for the establishment of the Anglican Mission in America.
The Anglican Mission in America was not established until six months later in July 2000 at a meeting in Amsterdam. We were there. We insisted on accountability and have received it at all times since then. Also, it is noteworthy that present in Amsterdam and supportive of the endeavor was The Most Rev’d Harry Goodhew, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan of the ECUSA Diocese of Pittsburgh who is now the Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.
Let us be clear in light of Radner’s premise, since both the consecrations in January 2000 and the founding of the AMiA in July 2000, every congregation and all clergy have been under our oversight. The Anglican Mission is not "self-ordering," as erroneously asserts. The congregations and clergy of the Anglican Mission in America are accountable to us! To declare or to imply otherwise is wrong.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PROVINCE OF RWANDA AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF SOUTH EAST ASIA
Additionally, Radner should know – but fails to acknowledge – that there is nothing "tenuous," as his incorrect terminology would lead one to think, about the ties between the AMiA and the Province of Rwanda. Prior to the consecrations of January 29, 2000, the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda approved at its meetings on January 13-14, 2000 "to have Missionary Bishops in place to see that the negative forces that prohibit God’s flock (Christians) from coming to know Jesus." This Resolution followed a September 1999 Resolution supporting me (Kolini) in my "struggle against those who do not believe that the Scriptures are the true Word of God." Radner owes the House of Bishops in the Province of Rwanda an apology for his misleading statements.
Furthermore, the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America are seated missionary bishops in the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda. The Anglican Mission in America is fully supported by me (Kolini) as its archbishop, by the House of Bishops of our Province and by the Provincial Synod of the Province of Rwanda. It is pertinent that there are more Anglicans worshiping on Sundays in my (Kolini) tiny nation of Rwanda (with a population today of about 7,000,000 since the genocide of 1994) than in ECUSA in the huge United States with a population almost forty times that size.
Also, the "parable" overlooks the reality that the synod of South East Asia, by its Resolution of February 26, 2000 in firmly upholding the 1998 Lambeth Resolutions 111.1, 111.5 and 1.10 on Biblical Authority and Morality, respected the principles upon which Bishop Tay had acted in the consecrations of January 2000. The Province of South East Asia recognized that "the AMiA is placed directly under the Most Reverend Datuk Yong Ping Chung, the Archbishop of the Province [though not formally involving the Province of South East Asia." Thus, I (++Yong) am authorized to provide oversight to the Anglican Mission as well.
PURPOSE OF THE ANGLICAN MISSION
It is appropriate at this point to note that the purpose of the Anglican Mission in America exists to glorify God and to serve, grow and multiply local churches that love Jesus Christ and reach the world He died to save (John 3:16-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-47). The goal is to so glorify God by building an alliance of congregations in America which are committed to gathering, planting and serving dynamic churches in the Anglican tradition. The AMiA is not focused upon the institutional and church politics of ECUSA. The Anglican Mission is seeks to so glorify God by building an alliance of congregations in America which are committed to gathering, planting and serving dynamic churches in the Anglican tradition. The focus is upon the 130,000,000 unchurched Americans who make up the largest English-speaking mission field in the entire world.
Radner would do well to read some of the recent endorsements of support from Primates of the Anglican Communion for the growing work and expanding witness of the Anglican Mission in America. For example, The Most Rev’d Dr. Diropka Balufuga Fidele, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Congo and Bishop of Bukavu and Kinshasa Dioceses, has this month written as follows:
"We come here to bring to you the support of the House of Bishops and the Christians of Congo, not just the Anglicans, but all the confessing Christians of Congo, for your courage, having stood firm in the traditional faith of the Anglican Church, and in the doctrinal foundation: The Bible ...."
"The Archbishops Emmanuel Mbona Kolini and Yong Ping Chung were also persecuted [d]ue to their support of the creation of AMiA (which defends a just cause) ... AMiA courageously followed the right path and today we see the results. We must courageously reject all that is against the Word of God and seek His will."
"The initiative of AMiA is a prophetic vision. Today’s sad events in ECUSA seek to break a communion that has been built for five centuries, through the living out of the Christian orthodox faith, based on the Bible. My hope is that the missionary work of AMiA and all those who choose the orthodox faith will save the Anglican Communion ...."
"I also want to once again reassure you of our sincere support, our prayers and our hope for the success of this winter conference [January 14-18,] 2004. Our great hope is to see AMiA prosper and become a powerful instrument of mission and witness to the Risen Christ in the United States and around the world. May the work of the Holy Spirit continue to be visible in AMiA ministry."
The understanding of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Congo and their Archbishop comfort us at times of attacks like this being leveled against us. We very much appreciate Archbishop Diropka’s support and prayers as well as those of the House of Bishops in the Province of the Congo.
Radner goes on to muse that the "evangelical ravages cannot be to embrace some alternative autonomy." This statement needs to be placed in perspective.
The Anglican Communion is in a period of realignment. Such is quite clear for all to see from the actions deemed necessary by numerous seated Archbishops and/or their Provinces, of which at least nine have now declared broken or impaired communion with ECUSA. As a result, the Provinces of Rwanda and South East Asia do not stand alone in offering orthodox spiritual covering for faithful Anglicans in the United States:
- Radner is also implicitly criticizing the work of the largest Province of the Anglican Communion, Nigeria, in its establishment of the Church of Nigeria in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing the work of the Province of South India which has for decades sponsored churches in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing Archbishop Bernard Malango of the Province of Central Africa for providing an ecclesiastical haven for a persecuted priest and congregation from a heretical bishop in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing the Archbishop of Kenya for also providing spiritual covering for clergy and congregation in the United States.
- Radner is further implicitly criticizing the steps by the Province of the Southern Cone and the Diocese of Bolivia in recently providing oversight for two congregations in the United States.
Radner has been selective in his criticism, but his reasoning is at odds with the efforts of many in the Global South to hear and to respond to the cries for help by the orthodox faithful in his country.
The historical underpinnings of Radner’s positions against both the Protestant Reformation and the Anglican Mission in America are misguided. Radner seems not to realize that the practice of overlapping jurisdictions is not foreign to Anglican polity and was not introduced by Archbishop Moses Tay and me (Kolini) in consecrating as Bishops John H. Rodgers, Jr and Charles H. Murphy III in January 2000 and in the subsequent founding of the Anglican Mission in America in July 2000.
Overlapping jurisdictions have existed in the Anglican world since 1745. Furthermore, the 1968 Lambeth Conference declared: "the demands of a new age suggest the wisdom of also consecrating bishops without territorial jurisdiction but with pastoral responsibility." Bishops should not be territorial monarchs, but pastors to specific people wherever they may live. For over 300 years, there have been multiple jurisdictions, over-lapping jurisdiction and bishops for people of different races, cultures, theologies and political parties. The British Parliament long ago set into place laws authorizing two Anglican Churches in one locale. Attachment Two discusses this matter in some detail. The current examples of over-lapping or non-geographic bishops and jurisdictions are numerous.
In mentioning at length the situation in Colorado to try to make some sort of case for remaining in an apostate institution, Radner overlooks specific Scriptural admonitions in this regard. Some important Scriptures are contained in Attachment One to this Response. Surely Radner is not placing holding together one apostate, man-made institution above the call to follow these Scriptural admonitions?
As to Colorado, we have been told that this same Diocese – before the AMiA was even established and before any Colorado clergy left to join it - voted down the Lambeth 1998 Resolutions on Biblical authority and human sexuality. This is not, in our estimation, the actions of "a moderately conservative diocese," as Radner would lead one to believe.
Additionally, Radner has his facts wrong when he states about the Anglican Mission that "initially they had no [bishops] in America" to whom the local Colorado clergy could be accountable. Radner fails to understand the plain facts that:
- The consecrations of Bishops Rodgers and Murphy in Singapore took place in January 2000.
- The Anglican Mission in America was not founded until July 2000.
- No Colorado clergy left ECUSA for the Anglican Mission until after the General Convention of ECUSA in July of 2000.
- Since its inception, the AMiA clergy and churches have been under our authority and accountable to us.
Thus, Radner’s argument in this regard as well is without merit.
Radner incredulously comes to the opinion that "the AMiA represents, therefore, one aspect of ECUSA’s and the Communion’s internal malaise." Of all the things that can be said about the Anglican Mission in America, contributing to any "malaise" within ECUSA and the Anglican Communion is not one of them.
Radner mentions in his document that accountability involves being "charitable." However, we see no charity in the pejorative language he uses in his "parable." Throughout he uses inflammatory language. This is sad.
We also find it quite interesting that Radner references "mutual accusations and recriminations" when it is he who has participated in these very acts since 2000 and is still doing so in his document of January 2004, almost four years after the Singapore consecrations. We would encourage him to live into the Kingdom Norms which he signed and is dated November 29, 2000 of "honoring one another’s ministries in word and deed, even where disagreement exists," "to consulting personally where malice is alleged or perceived" and "to not speak ill of one another" as well as "to working together in mission." It is time to cease attacking those who have left an apostate institution in accordance with the above Scripture admonitions and in order to seek to carry out the mission of the Gospel and its Great Commission. The issue should be Christian faithfulness, not institutional or political repercussions.
We would hope that Radner could let go of his obvious anger over these long-past events and move forward with us in the Gospel mission of the orthodox in the United States. We invite him to do so. Preaching unity while sowing seeds of division serves no godly purpose.
This Response has been written to set the record straight regarding the Anglican Mission in America in the face of the false allegations, the distortions of the truth and the gross misrepresentations contained in The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner’s "A call to accountability: the parable of the AMiA." We have sought to clarify matters for those who may have read that document.
The Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini,
Archbishop of Rwanda and Bishop of the Diocese of Kigali
The Most Rev’d Yong Ping Chung,
Archbishop of South East Asia and Bishop of the Diocese of Sabah
ATTACHMENT ONE: SOME SCRIPTURES SUPPORTING LEAVING ECUSA
Galatians 1:6-8: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"
Romans 16:17-18: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people, are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naďve people."
II Corinthians 6:14-7:1: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. "I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
II Thessalonians 3:6: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."
II John 7-11: "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 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. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work."
Isaiah 5:20: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."
ATTACHMENT TWO: OVERLAPPING JURISDICTIONS
It is observed in "An Apologetic for the Anglican Mission in America: The Basis of Anglican Unity: Territory or Faith?" that in 1745, Parliament recognized two Anglican churches in Scotland. One church was the Scottish Episcopal Church; the other was the Church of England in Scotland. The House of Lords in 1849 debated whether the chapels in Scotland using the Church of England Prayer Book may have their own hierarchy. The Scottish bishops asked Parliament to discipline the English and Irish bishops who supported the English chapels in Scotland. Parliament declined to do either. It noted that the law allowed two Anglican jurisdictions in Scotland, each in communion with the Church of England. English and Irish bishops provided Episcopal oversight, on theological grounds, for these chapels until 1923 when the separation ended. In 1871 a legal opinion was given on the question as to, "Whether a Bishop who has held a See in England, Ireland, India or the Colonies will, in accepting the office of Bishop over the congregations of members of the Church of England, protected and allowed in Scotland, commit any Act of Secession or Disqualification in reference to the Church of England?" The answer provided was that it would not.
As the Apologetic also reports at length, canon law, custom, history and tradition clearly support the method of sending missionary bishops from one part of the Communion into another.
Current examples of over-lapping or non-geographic bishops and jurisdictions include:
§ England/Wales: The Provincial Episcopal Visitor or "Flying Bishop" program. This allows a parish to seek alternate episcopal oversight for reasons of theology.
§ Australia: The Diocese of Sydney has planted parishes in neighboring dioceses, retaining oversight and jurisdiction.
§ Bishops for the Armed Forces in the United States and Australia exercise non-geographic oversight of military and prison chaplains.
§ New Zealand/Aotearoa: Five Maori dioceses, created for the indigenous people of this area, overlap the seven dioceses created for the descendants of European settlers.
§ South Africa: The Order of Ethiopia maintains parishes independent of its system in the Province.
§ United States: The Church of South India (CSI) has 20 parishes in the United States and Canada with oversight held by the Moderator of the CSI
§ Arabian Gulf: The Church of Pakistan sent a missionary bishop to the Arabian Gulf to work with expatriate Pakistanis in the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. The CSI also maintains parishes in the Gulf under the oversight of the Bishop in Kerala.
§ The American Church has a diocese in Europe and the Church of England has its own diocese in Europe. These are in addition to the Portuguese and Spanish national Churches. One can attend an American Cathedral in Paris or an English Cathedral in Paris.