By Hilary White
JERUSALEM, June 19, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A month before the Lambeth Conference, the leaders of the “conservative”, or traditionally Christian wing of the Anglican Church have declared that the Worldwide Anglican Communion no longer exists.
The declaration comes in a 94-page book, titled “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” from the church leaders meeting at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jordan.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that in the book, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Primate of Nigeria, states, “There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion”. The book was prepared by GAFCON Theological Resource Team and provides the theological and historical foundation for the movement of orthodox Anglicans that is meeting in Jerusalem June 22 – 29.
“We have made enormous efforts since 1997 in seeking to avoid this crisis, but without success. Now we confront a moment of decision. If we fail to act, we risk leading millions of people away from the faith revealed in the Holy Scriptures and also, even more seriously, we face the real possibility of denying our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Akinola writes.
The leadership of the Global South contingent of the Anglican Church, representing 75 percent of the world’s 77 million Anglicans were meeting in Amman, Jordan this week with plans to move to Jerusalem next week to discuss directions for the Church in the face of the growing crisis over the acceptance of homosexuality in the West.
The Global South group says that after years of emergency meetings and ultimatums, they have been “ignored,” “demonized” and “marginalized.”
A group of bishops and laymen were gathered in Jordan for a period of prayer and reflection prior to the conference. Due to difficulties with Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola’s visa at the Jordan border, the conference has been moved early to Jerusalem. In total, more than 1,000 Anglican leaders from 25 countries, including 280 bishops, are expected to attend the conference.
In related news, Times of London reported this week that the Church of England, the Anglican Communion’s mother church, is in a state of crisis as 500 ministers threaten to leave if women are ordained as bishops. The newspaper reported that the ministers have said they will leave the Church if the proposal is approved at the next general synod scheduled for July.
Anglicanism is often referred to as being a via media between Catholicism and Protestantism, and has been presented since its founding in the 16th century as a “compromise” between the two. Since the early 20th century, however, the Anglican Churches have incrementally allowed secularist, non-Christian ideas, particularly in areas of sexual morality, to creep into their teachings, starting with the acceptance of artificial contraception at the Lambeth Conference of 1930.
This slow creep away from traditional Christian doctrine has culminated in the ordination to the episcopate in 2003 of Gene Robinson, an unrepentant active homosexual who left his wife for a same-sex relationship. This action by the US Episcopal Church has led to the virtual dissolution of the Anglican Communion, with thousands of individuals and hundreds of parishes and clergy disassociating themselves with their ultra-liberal leadership to seek oversight from other, more orthodox Anglican bishops or to go to the Catholic Church.