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Archbishop Welby "not proud" about Progress in Christian Unity

Archbishop Welby "not proud" about Progress in Christian Unity
Anglicans recognize Pope as 'father of the Church in the West,' says archbishop of Canterbury

By David W. Virtue in Canterbury
August 6, 2022

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that he is "not proud" of the level of progress made in promoting Christian unity in recent years. He attributed this state of affairs in part to what he called "habits of separation" that have been fostered over the last 500 years.

He also said that in ecumenical discussions the majority of the Church of England's members and most Anglicans recognize the pope as "the father of the Church in the West."

To millions of evangelical Anglicans, that is a red cape to an evangelical bull. The creation of the Ordinariate by the Roman Catholic Church picked off Anglo-Catholics fed up with the revisionism of The Episcopal Church, but still and all, a large group of Anglo-Catholics remain loyal to Anglicanism. Anglicanism has positioned itself as the Via Media Church between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism which developed within Anglicanism by at least the seventeenth century.

The hope that ARCIC would provide the glue to bring Anglicanism and Catholicism together has not materialized. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord (George) Carey, said in 2014 that the work of ARCIC is irrelevant to most Christians.

"Catholics and Anglicans involved in formal ecumenical dialogue might as well be 'talking on the moon' because no one is listening to them," he said.

Things have not changed in 2022. Young people do not care about ecumenicity or ecumenical issues because the reality is that denominations across the Western world are dying. Nones, Gen Z, Gen-X and Millennials are totally uninterested in the doctrinal squabbles of past generations. They are far more concerned about whether churches are gay friendly or express homophobia; some actually want to learn about Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers.

Anglican theologian Andrew Goddard writing on the Anglican situation, said; "That although all wish for unity and communion there are currently two main competing visions of the end of communion in terms of its goal or purpose:
the traditional vision of Communion Catholicity which is an ecumenically shared vision; and a vision of Autonomous Inclusivism where provincial autonomy is central."

The account of the Communion offered to the Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury does not articulate that of Communion Catholicity and appears perilously close to that of Autonomous Inclusivism, he said.

"If this is now the end (in the sense of destiny and goal) it would entail the end (in sense of destruction) of the Communion as it has developed and understood itself because it embraces provincially driven pluralism while sidelining or abandoning the quest to be of one mind which is part of the biblical calling of the church."

The truth is that the Anglican Communion is divided three ways: the Lambeth Conference, which is increasingly revisionist and Western-based, GSFA -- orthodox Global South Anglicans and GAFCON who no longer believe that it is necessary to be in communion with Canterbury to be an Anglican. Welby has dubbed them a "ginger group," while failing to recognize that they represent more than 75% of the Anglican Communion! The Anglican Church in North America, for example, is not even recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury!

According to Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council, Resolution 49 of Lambeth Conference 1930 says that relationship with Canterbury is the condition for being within the institution of the Anglican Communion. Yet, what the Archbishop of Canterbury ignores is all the Lambeth Conferences which preceded 1930, robustly reaffirmed that communion was around a shared confession of faith, doctrine and order. He ignores the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (Lambeth 1888), which provides for a "common faith and order" as the basis for reunifying the Church--without any reference to the See of Canterbury.

"This agreement around the Bible as the revealed word of God, the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith, Baptism and the Lord's supper as the two sacraments instituted by Christ, and the "historic Episcopate" locally adapted remains the Anglican benchmark for communion. It is all about a shared confession of faith and order--not relationship with Canterbury."

Addressing the Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, stressed the urgency of ecumenical dialogue. Koch called the present state of division an "emergency" in the Church.

Speaking to the Tablet, Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley noted the ability of the Conference to cement the unity of the Anglican Communion.

Longley pointed out that the road to wider Christian unity and dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church would be "hampered" if the former were to divide.

Welby's comments on ecumenism follow his call for a vote on banning same-sex marriage earlier in the conference. However, Welby said at a press conference in March that debates about human sexuality should not dominate this year's Lambeth Conference. The truth is, it has.

Resolution 1:10 has reared its head, much to Archbishops Welby's dismay. Sudanese Archbishop Justin Badi made it clear that while the GSFA would not leave the Anglican Communion, the revisionists would have to leave if they refused to repent of sexual behaviors not sanctioned by Scripture.

The Primate of South Sudan reiterated that we cannot be a Communion with a plurality of beliefs. "There needs to be limits to theological diversity, limits that are set by a plain and canonical reading of Scripture and which is supported by church history. We cannot accept the hermeneutic of revisionist Primates and {Provinces that allow a plurality of views on the essential truth contained in 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude v3)."

The truth is the Anglican Communion is not walking together, it is a divided communion. It is "listening" more to the voices of pansexualists than orthodox Anglicans and they are not "witnessing together" because they have a different gospel each proclaims.

The future for Anglicanism, if there is one, will be the ultimate death of Western Anglicanism and the forward sweep of Global South Anglicanism that is predominantly female, under 30 and black.


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