NewsFri Sep 12, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Future of Anglican Communion Resides with Global South Bishops and Christian Orthodoxy: GAFCON
By Hilary White
LONDON, September 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - There is no turning back from "Anglican Realignment" and the future of the Anglican Church lies with Christian orthodoxy, say leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the group that formed in response to the growing pro-homosexualist dissent in the Anglican Communion. GAFCON has issued a statement following a meeting in London where they examined the results of this summer’s Lambeth Conference.
The GAFCON leadership have made it clear that the breakup of the Anglican Communion happened in 2003 with the consecration of Gene Robinson, an unrepentant active homosexual man, as bishop of New Hampshire. There is now only one way forward, they said: the return of the Anglican Church to orthodox Christianity.
The statement from the GAFCON leadership outlined three "new facts", made clear at the Lambeth Conference, that no new agreements are likely to resolve.
"First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think. Second, churches and even dioceses affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans…Third, there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans with far-reaching global implications."
The bishops responded to accusations of "border crossing" by defending the right of Anglicans to seek oversight from bishops who hold to ancient Christian religious beliefs. "So-called ‘border-crossing’ is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture."
The leadership are inviting individuals, parishes, dioceses, provinces and para-church organizations who assented to the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration to signify their desire to become members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. This Fellowship will be the body that will facilitate the restoration of the Anglican Communion to genuine scripturally based Christian doctrine.
The group rejected accepting any overtures by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, that may be seen as a compromise of their position. Theirs, they said, is "an effort to bring order out of the chaos of the present time and to make sure as far as possible that some of the most faithful Anglican Christians are not lost to the Communion."
Conservative Anglican commentator and writer David Virtue, said, "The high moral ground is now firmly in the hands of the Global South, so are the numbers." GAFCON bishops together represent approximately 30 million of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, of which it is estimated about 50 million are active in their churches. This contrasts with the less than 25 per cent of the communion represented by those 600 bishops attending Lambeth.
Virtue wrote that the claim of Rowan Williams that he privately dissents from Christian teaching on homosexuality while publicly professing it cannot be accepted by the GAFCON bishops.
Calling his position "theological schizophrenia", Virtue writes, "Williams has cast his lot with the church’s left wing on faith and morals. He will not change his views; he has made that very clear."
"God is not mocked; the Anglican Communion is reaping what it has sown. This harvest of hate, fear, frustration, loathing and alienation on both sides, brought about by the promotion and acceptance of sexual sin, is the death knell of the Anglican Communion as it is presently constructed."
"In GAFCON, the end is the beginning. It is only a matter of time," Virtue concluded.
Meanwhile, more Anglican groups in the US are defecting from the Episcopal Church of the US (ECUSA), to seek affiliation with the Anglican Communion Province of Southern Cone. This week, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, has recommended that Bishop Jack Iker formally affiliate with Southern Cone as a member diocese, "on a temporary, pastoral basis." Fort Worth Anglicans hope to see the establishment of a new province in North America, formally associated with the Anglican Communion, but unconnected with the ultra-liberal ECUSA.
This migration out of the local Anglican jurisdictions, now being called the Anglican Realignment, is ongoing, with ten Episcopal dioceses having joined the group, Anglican Communion Network (ACN): Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Grande, Springfield and South Carolina. The Anglican Communion Network is only one of several groups that are seeking a solution outside ECUSA. As of January 2007, the ACN claims support from 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in ten dioceses and 900 congregations in the United States and Canada.
Almost a dozen main groups have formed across North America, all having similar goals and often overlapping memberships. They all came together in a meeting in Pittsburgh, in June 2004 to form the Common Cause Partnership. Members of the Partnership say they have formed an Anglican college of bishops that constitutes a "separate ecclesiastical structure" from the mainstream US and Canadian Anglican Churches. Despite the refusal of the latter to recognise them, 51 Bishops representing more than 600 congregations were present for the creation of the Common Cause Partnership.
Key members of the Common Cause Partnership participated in the Jerusalem meeting of GAFCON this summer.
At the same time, congregations in the Episcopal Church have been shut out of their parishes and ministers defrocked for resistance to the new pro-homosexual and anti-Christian doctrines adopted by the mainstream Anglican churches.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Worldwide Anglican Communion at an End says Nigerian Primate
Gay Anglican Posterboy Gene Robinson Complains of "Bigotry" from Fellow Bishops
Canadian Anglican Bishop to Priests: Approve Homosexual Blessings or Resign