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Anglican Communion Secretary-General rebuffed by GAFCON's Dr. Peter Jensen over Gazette interview

Anglican Communion Secretary-General rebuffed by GAFCON's Dr. Peter Jensen over Gazette interview

Church of Ireland Gazette
January 13, 2017

Dr. Peter Jensen, the General Secretary of the traditionalist Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which is an ongoing movement, has issued a point-by-point rebuttal of comments which Anglican Communion Secretary-General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon made in an exclusive
Gazette interview published in our issue of 16th December last (full audio at https://gazette. ireland.anglican.org/interview- 67-archbishop-josiah-idowufearon).

A former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Jensen is a driving force behind GAFCON, seeking to bring a renewal of traditional theological and moral values to Anglicanism, especially in the context of human sexuality issues.

Dr. Jensen's response to what were very forthright comments by Archbishop Idowu-Fearon came in an article published online by GAFCON on 31st December (see www.gafcon.org/ blog/is-gafcon-the-problem).

In the article, entitled 'Is GAFCON the problem?', Dr Jensen writes: "For a self-confessed ambassador and reconciler, Archbishop Josiah Fearon uses some undiplomatic language. The frank expression of his views on the Anglican Communion and the sexuality debate, and his sweeping dismissal of GAFCON and
African Church leaders, have caused considerable dismay. However, they reveal the thinking of the Anglican Communion Office and presumably those who endorse its leadership."

Nonetheless, Dr Jensen said it was important to focus on the views expressed, rather than the person (Archbishop Idowu-Fearon) himself, going on to address the points made by the London-based Secretary-General.

Dr Jensen wrote that Archbishop Idowu-Fearon's view that African antagonism to homosexuality had been taught by American conservatives was "simply endorsing the narrative of Western LGBT activists who themselves have been campaigning to introduce their views into Africa with the powerful support of Western governments and even the UN".

Regarding Archbishop IdowuFearon's comments that African Church leaders are unChristlike, despotic and corrupt, Dr Jensen described this as a "harsh, blanket criticism" that was "generalizing and inaccurate", adding: "While of course some Church leaders are like this in Africa, as in other parts of the
world, there are many godly men and women who lead sacrificially and wisely."

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon had commented that "GAFCON is not a movement of the Holy Spirit", but in response Dr Jensen stated: "Such an erroneous and harsh judgement of GAFCON sadly shows a determination not to reconcile with the movement, but to discredit it completely in the eyes of a Western audience."

He continued: "GAFCON is a movement to hold the Anglican Communion together around the word of God, in line with the classical position of Anglicanism. It has not created schism but has actually enabled
loyal Anglicans to stay in the Communion. Following the teaching of God's word, it refuses to have fellowship with those who have compromised the faith on matters of salvation. They have abandoned Communion, not GAFCON. This is the true logic of being a 'conservative'."

Dr Jensen also wrote that Archbishop Idowu-Fearon's "emphasis on reconciliation between people holding different views, so that institutional unity must be preserved at all costs" was at odds with the New Testament, stating: "Serious disagreement over core doctrines is not good diversity which can be managed by institutional control and re-organisation, but a sign of serious sickness in the body."

On a personal note, Dr Jensen stated that he and Archbishop Idowu-Fearon "go back almost 20 years" and that he had valued his friendship. However, he took the view that the Archbishop, in speaking as he had, was "more or less indicating that GAFCON is the problem for Communion", but added "If one can become such a problem by believing and obeying the Bible and by reaching out in support of those Anglicans who had to break fellowship with those who have embraced an unscriptural lifestyle that endangers the gospel, so be it."

However, Dr Jensen concluded by laying the blame for interAnglican divisions on "Western bishops", stating that if more of them "had immediately seen error for what it was, had identified it and had lovingly taken action seeking repentance, GAFCON would not have been needed. But, when the despised Global South Primates attended meeting after meeting in the period 2003 to 2007 and found
that their entreaties and tears were to no avail, they knew that they had to take a stand for Christ and his word. That is GAFCON."


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