Having yesterday outlined the principles of Aspirational Church Growth, it is now time to present The Five Rules of GAFCON Ministry:
1. Be Certain, not Consistent.
Whatever you choose to believe, BELIEVE IT! If you decide to criticize homosexuality never let the fact that you’re camper than a Boy-Scout jamboree (and all your “advisors” look like members of the Village People) curb your homophobia. If you decide to attack your opponent’s financial improprieties, don’t let any messy details concerning your own discretionary fund stop you from slamming others as immoral thieves.
2. Ignore Facts - argue the Big Picture.
Your opponents will try and argue with facts –always respond by referring to the Big Picture. Remember that the broader and more sweeping a generalization is the harder it is to counter. If you’re ever accused of discriminating against an individual, or of causing them distress, always respond by insisting “this has nothing to do with one person - it’s about the Church’s survival”. If presented with your own history of encouraging homophobia and violence, reply by demanding critics address "the real issue of respect for the Bible".
3. You determine the Experts.
It’s irrelevant that your opponent is someone with a lifetime of experience in biblical scholarship, or of ministry under the most difficult of circumstances, while your man is a shameless self-promoter who used to sell patent medicines in a country where the leading industries are civil war and spam emails – the real expert is whoever you want them to be. Qualifications mean nothing, and your critics know nothing. You choose who the authorities are, and there's never any need to justify your choices.
4. Talk about the Bible, not what’s in the Bible.
Not only is the Bible is full of complicated and conflicting statements, but some of the ideas it contains (such as “Love your enemies”) are positively dangerous. The good news is that it’s quite easy to be a “Biblical Christian” without ever once referring to what the Bible actually says. Instead of engaging with the text, simply insert adjectives like “Biblical” and “Scriptural” into everything you say. Dismiss counter-arguments as “contrary to the Word” without ever attempting to show why.
5. Always insist that you are the wronged party.
Even though countless innocent men and women have been rejected, ridiculed, bashed and even killed as a result of bigotry likr yours, always insist that you are the one being harmed and discriminated against. Find that your opponents are refusing to let you keep property which you always knew belonged to them? Complain as loudly as possible of the “persecution you are enduring for the sake of the Gospel”. Never give a moment’s thought to the harm you’re causing by leaving: responsibility for the Anglican schism rests firmly with those who aren’t leaving: blame them for the division at every opportunity.
Follow these rules in everything you do, and you too can have a successful GAFCON ministry. Pay careful attention, because men have become Bishops this way, and over the next year you can be sure purple shirts will be handed out like frequent-flyers points. Come to think of it, more than a few of those have also been earned recently, and GAFCON is the surest way nondescript clergy have of gaining more.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.