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Is The Archbishop of Canterbury a Focus of Unity or The Source of Disunity?

Is The Archbishop of Canterbury a Focus of Unity or The Source of Disunity?
Global South bishops see tide of revisionism sweeping over communion
"Holy remnant" must withstand Welby's communion

By David W. Virtue, DD
December 21, 2022

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said for the first time that he will keep his views on same-sex marriage in church a secret, as long as he is in the post. He says he wants to be the focus of unity, he being the great unifier of the Anglican Communion.

How disingenuous of the archbishop.

It is this kind of waffle that infuriates Global South bishops, who are quite definitive about same sex marriage. They believe same sex marriage is morally wrong, biblically prohibited, theologically unsupportable and communion destroying.

The Uganda Archbishop, Stephen Kaziimba, in his Christmas message said this, "There are rumours that the Church of England will soon vote to provide some form of blessings for homosexual relationships. We are grateful for the Church of England who gave us the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we will never follow you in supporting homosexuality. You may be the "Mother Church," but let's be clear that such a decision will mean you have abandoned the very faith of Anglicanism you so generously shared around the world. You may still be the Church of England, but you will no longer be Anglican, because Anglicans uphold the Bible."

Kaziimba just pronounced that his province would split from the Church of England if the CofE Synod goes through with it in 2023. Other African provinces would likely follow.

Could the African Archbishop be any blunter?

Of course, the Nigerians have been savaging Welby for years over his waffling and prevarications, and they want nothing more to do with him. As far as they are concerned, Welby could take a long walk off a short pier into the Thames River and he would not be missed. The Nigerians are busy planting their own brand of Anglicanism in North America, and this is among evangelical Anglicans for goodness' sake!

Can you imagine Archbishop William Temple waltzing into Buckingham Palace and telling King George VI that while the Nazis might well invade and occupy England, he did not want to judge the outcome because he wanted to be a source of unity if they should arrive in Trafalgar Square uninvited!

Even lesbian lay woman Jayne Ozanne saw through the archbishop's sanctimonious ploy, and argued that "The archbishop's primary duty is to safeguard God's sheep. By sitting on the fence and wrongly prioritising 'unity at all costs', the archbishop continues to sacrifice LGBT+ people on the altar of expediency and fails to recognise the harm that church teaching continues to cause LGBT+ people."

Now that must hurt.

The leader of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican churches (GSFA) issued a statement this week saying that it was necessary to revise and reform the Anglican Communion from "the tide of revisionism" and, "the immense and subtle pressure to accommodate the surrounding culture".

In a Christmas Message entitled 'Standing for Truth, Uniting the Faithful and Shining the Gospel Light' sent to fellow primates, the Most Rev'd Dr Justin Badi, Primate of South Sudan and Chairman of the GSFA, said that since its conception nearly 30 years ago, the GSFA has stood as a 'holy remnant' in the Communion. Now, following its united efforts at the 2022 Lambeth Conference, the GSFA was seeking to "swim against the tide and drift", to "follow the example of God's faithful people throughout biblical history to be loyal whatever the cost", and is calling for "repentance and a re-setting" of the Communion.

Former Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis had earlier issued a statement arguing that if the General Synod of the Church of England at its February 2023 Synod

allows such a move to go forward, The Archbishop of Canterbury will be in a very difficult position, because he would appear as contradicting the mind of many Provinces within the Communion.

"I am deeply saddened to say that the Anglican Communion we have loved, though it has kept its name, yet has lost its heart," said Bishop Anis.

It is a forgone conclusion how the voting will go over the LLF report. The Church of England's College and House of Bishops met for three days this week to draft the outcomes of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) discernment process. The results will be presented to the General Synod in 2023. The Church of England's College and House of Bishops will remain tight-lipped till then.

But we all know where this is going. They will follow the trajectory of the Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church USA and the Scottish Episcopal Church, all of whom have embraced same-sex marriage rites. One can only imagine the screams of outrage should the laity in the CofE Synod shot it down. Cries of homophobia would ring from the rafters. Welby would wring his hands in apoplexy and probably demand a recount, like the sort of the thing that is happening in the Diocese of Florida where an orthodox wannabe bishop has won two elections, but faces pushback from disgruntled pansexualists depriving him immediately of his bishopric.

The pansexual steamroller brooks no opposition. The fabled doctrine of inclusion is more truthfully the doctrine of exclusion -- the exclusion of anyone who disagrees with them.

Then comes the problem with those who disagree. Will there still be room for them in the CofE?

The Rt. Rev Keith Sinclair of the CEEC -- the evangelical wing of the CofE said the CEEC will be asking evangelicals up and down the country to pursue a series of steps by way of 'protest' to indicate to the House of Bishops that it will not accept such changes. In other words -- it does appear that there is a very real possibility of an absolute stalemate going forwards -- in which no one is content with the situation.

"In the event of a change to either the doctrine, liturgy or practice of the C of E many orthodox people (both clergy and lay) might find it difficult to remain in the C of E UNLESS some kind of 'silos' can be created such that the change is not universal but applies only to part of the C of E -- the other part(s) remaining biblical. This is what is meant by differentiation," said Sinclair.

Fortunately, there is an alternative in England -- the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and the wider Anglican Network in Europe under GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines, who recently appointed two assistant bishops, perhaps anticipating a run from the CofE.

If this is the strategy all along, then Welby's "of two minds" will come back to bite him. He cannot repeat what he did at Lambeth and say both sides are right. All that did was galvanize the GSFA to fight back.

The Law of Non-Contradiction makes Welby's stance impossible. Welby will either accept the orthodox position which he knows so well as an evangelical and repudiate any sort of sex outside of marriage other than that between a man and a woman, or he will go along with bishops like Steven Croft of Oxford who believe the church must stay up with the world and the culture. If Welby follows Croft, Welby will watch as his church sinks like the Titanic. The iceberg of pansexuality will rip the hull of the Church, causing it to sink.

As the prophet Isaiah wrote: "So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." -- Isa. 55:11 (ESV)


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