jQuery Slider

You are here

Justin Welby & ACC Leader Threatened by GAFCON Inroads into Anglican Communion

Justin Welby & ACC Leader Threatened by GAFCON Inroads into Anglican Communion
To proclaim the gospel, we must first defend the gospel against threats from without and within say GAFCON leaders

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
June 26, 2018

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and his man about the Anglican Communion, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, might simply have laughed it off over a cup of tea in Lambeth Palace at the upstart antics of the GAFCON crowd yearning to be free. Not anymore.

The mood today in the Anglican Communion is no longer gay (if you'll pardon the pun), it is downright gloomy, even hostile.

The Global South has risen and is challenging the staid Mother Church, flexing its post-colonial muscles, announcing that the Instruments of Communion (Unity) are no longer relevant. If today's institutional leaders won't hearken back to what made them spiritually great and the impetus that brought their missionaries to the shores of Africa, Asia and Latin America, then perhaps what they need is a theological and moral do over.

The Anglican empire, like the now defunct British Empire, is fast becoming moribund and irrelevant. Welby sits atop an institution that contains and controls him, forcing him into a procrustean bed of irrelevance, his statements and pronouncements weakened and restrained by what the state passes in its parliament.

If the state wants same-sex marriage, one can politely say 'not in my house' but sooner or later it is a done deal, back-doored in by calling it a "blessing", when to all intents and purposes it is a marriage by any other name. No one is fooled. The Synod plays mental and verbal gymnastics over "the meaning of", but in the end we all know where this will end.

And that is why the Global South, watching the hyper verbal British play word games have finally had enough and declared that they will no longer play ball with Welby and so establish a new Anglican identity, complete with its own Synodical Councils, archbishops, bishops, networks and missions. A new day has dawned, the old has, or is in the process of passing away and the birth of a new movement of the Spirit has begun. And Welby cannot stop it, even by demeaning it as a "ginger group".

The irony should not be missed. The sharp-eyed former oil executive is no fool. Theologian he ain't, but business executive he is, and he has a keen eye on how to manipulate persons to achieve what he hopes will be his desired end -- to keep the communion together. It is no longer what Scripture declares to be true, but what he can manipulate and cajole with the tools of big business through the Instruments of Unity.

It should come as no surprise that Welby chose a Nigerian archbishop to head the Anglican Consultative Council (an Instrument of Communion) to hopefully placate the roaring lion of Abuja (Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh) and bring peace in our time. It has not so transpired. Okoh and the rest of the Global South saw right through him. Fearon had rolled over and become Welby's bag man, ready to do his bidding even to the point of pronouncing on alleged fundamentalism and homosexual hatred by African bishops, though not a shred of it was ever true. Fearon had drunk the Kool-Aid.

On Irish radio, Fearon denounced unnamed Global South bishops for their homophobia; now matters have moved much closer to home and this week he raged against GAFCON's intrusion directly into his turf.

Fearon publicly berated GAFCON's launch of nine key networks: Theological Education, Church Planting, Global Mission Partnerships, Bishops Training, Youth and Children's Ministry, Women's Ministry, Sustainable Development together with an Intercessors Fellowship and a Lawyer's Task Force, seeing them as a direct threat to his ecclesiastical hegemony.

Fearon raged against the night, calling the actions of GAFCON members "a parallel administrative organization to the existing one without Anglican Communion."

"The office that I lead is active across all of these areas with dedicated and highly experienced Directors leading work in partnership with individual Provinces and with regional groups," he railed.

Not anymore. Orthodox Anglicans had gotten under his skin in a way that mere homosexual bashing from a distance had not done.

Fearon accused GAFCON leaders of "division and confusion" and said it should be avoided. Not true. The "division and confusion" had occurred back in 2002 in the Diocese of New Westminster, when Bishop Michael Ingham and his diocese approved a motion to allow same-sex blessings. In 2003, the Episcopal Church did the unthinkable and dropped a theological nuclear bomb on the communion when Gene Robinson, a man living with his homosexual partner, was consecrated a bishop. That single act has forever divided the communion and became its focal point for division.

Fearon called the parallel work a "dangerous step," establishing a "rival structure" not in conformity with his understanding of what it means to be Anglican.

Unimpressed by his words and tone, Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies called it an attack of "pique" by Fearon. In truth, it was deeper than that. GAFCON's actions cut to the very heart of institutional Anglicanism and what it means to do mission and raised the specter of who it is that really carries the torch of Biblical Anglicanism.

The deeper truth is that GAFCON leaders no longer believe Welby and the pro pansexual West. They have demanded that he discipline erring provinces, denounce same-sex marriage and uphold Lambeth 1:10. Welby has done none of the above. He says he is conflicted over homosexuality and can't make up his mind. GAFCON leaders know exactly what they think and have said so numerous times.

PUSHBACK

But Welby has his followers and several African archbishops have been persuaded to do videos supporting the upcoming Lambeth 2020 gabfest. Archbishops from Burundi, Tanzania, Congo and Egypt have come out in favor of attending Lambeth 2020 for "fellowship" and more, but nowhere is there even a hint in their praise for Welby is the dark subterranean world of same-sex marriage and Scripture's authoritative stand against same mentioned. Rebellion is not from the GAFCON side, but from Welby and his followers who have rebelled against the moral order, while GAFCON has stood firmly on Scripture.

FINAL COMMUNIQUE

The communion is now fundamentally divided and "good disagreement" won't heal the divisions because at the very core of the problem now facing the communion is doctrine and 'sound teaching'. It is nothing less than whether the Welby and the majority of bishops in TEC the ACoC and other revisionist provinces will recognize the authority of Scripture, and that we know they will not do.

US Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is solidly bent on a course of spreading TEC's message of full inclusion without repentance and nothing will stop him. His message of "love" does not resonate with dioceses that have left TEC over precisely the authority of Scripture and the millions spent in trying to retain properties.

In their final communique the leaders wrote: "In the councils of the church, we should not mimic the ways of the world but gather to pray, to praise (i.e., to be eucharistic), to consult, to decide, and if necessary to discipline. These gatherings should be properly conciliar in nature, decisive in moving the church forward in its mission and common life. There should be the will to exercise loving but firm discipline to bring sinners to repentance and restoration."

Then they poured it on big time. They urged Welby not to invite bishops to the next Lambeth Conference in 2020 who endorse sexual practices deemed in contradiction of scripture. They also insisted he invite Anglican archbishops from North America and Brazil and then hurled their final spear urging GAFCON members to boycott the 2020 Lambeth Conference if these demands were not met!

What they inferred is that Welby is spiritually impotent, he is no longer a force to be reckoned with. He will take the Church of England down the proverbial pathway to ecclesiastical euthanasia. If evangelical Anglicans thought Rowan Williams was a disaster and not to be trusted, in Welby they have a turncoat, more dangerous than the Hegelian Williams. Welby claimed to be one of us (an evangelical) but at the end of the day he had rolled over to the other side. And that is unforgiveable.

Welby is reaping what he has sown and the GAFCON leaders know it. And they hold the winning hand.

END

Subscribe
Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top