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AUSTRALIA: GAFCON Will "Disaffiliate" from ACA if Pushed to the Wall over Homosexuality

AUSTRALIA: GAFCON Will "Disaffiliate" from ACA if Pushed to the Wall over Homosexuality

By David W. Virtue, DD
December 19, 2020

Australian evangelical Anglicans have issued an ultimatum to the Anglican Church of Australia, threatening to "disaffiliate" from them in response to the national church's legal approval over blessing services for civil same sex marriages.

They say they will set up "alternative oversight" under GAFCON for Anglicans who want out, and they have released a statement called "Commitment 2020".

The Australian branch of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) embraces conservative Anglican bishops and leaders. It was formed to counter the growing apostasy of Western Anglican provinces who support and allow non-biblical sexual behaviors at all levels of the Church.

They say that if a sufficient number of churches and clergy disaffiliate from the ACA, GAFCON Australia will seek the approval of the GAFCON Primates' Council to establish an Extra-Provincial Diocese (EPD) for Australia, authorized by the GAFCON Primates.

The GAFCON EPD will be a parallel jurisdiction with the existing Anglican Church of Australia and have a geographic spread across the whole country. It is not envisioned that this will include Anglicans from dioceses where sound doctrine is upheld.

The GAFCON EPD will be governed by its own Constitution and Canons, appoint a Registrar, and will elect its own Bishop, who will ordain, license, and pastor its clergy and congregations.

The GAFCON EPD will establish links of communion with orthodox bishops and dioceses within the ACA, as well as among the GAFCON Global networks. It will seek to establish new churches in areas where there are few orthodox Anglican Churches.

Commitment 2020

GAFCON Australia's primary desire is for all the Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia (ACA) to remain faithful to our Lord by gladly holding to his teaching. We will do everything in our power to support orthodox leaders and to encourage dioceses to maintain fidelity to the Lord and his Word in light of the increasing societal changes especially in relation to marriage, human sexuality and other matters.

Our understanding of "orthodox Anglican faith" is expressed in the Jerusalem Declaration. We are part of the world-wide GAFCON movement that represents 70% of the world's worshipping Anglicans, that embraces evangelical, catholic and charismatic Anglicans, and women and men who are ordained.

They say they are responding to the recent Appellate Tribunal majority opinions on the Wangaratta and Newcastle dioceses to allow some Diocesan Bishops to perform blessings of same-sex marriages in their Dioceses.

"If Bishops promote, or fail to stop this practice, then many orthodox Anglicans will find themselves unable to receive the oversight of their bishop. We know that some bishops already have failed to discipline clergy for breaking biblical standards of conduct. Some dioceses have changed their official standards (through changes to Faithfulness in Service) to allow those who do not practice chastity in singleness to exercise ministry and leadership."

GAFCON Australia says there are at least five possible scenarios where faithful Anglicans will believe they can no longer accept the ministry of their bishop. Where a Bishop no longer personally believes the doctrine of the ACA2
(even though they might not act on this or require others to do so); Where a Bishop fails to act in restraining or disciplining a clergy person from acting against the doctrine of the ACA; Where a Synod adopts a resolution contrary to the doctrine of the ACA and a Bishop allows actions consistent with that resolution; Where the ACA changes its doctrine or discipline to a position that is not biblical; Where a Bishop disciplines a clergyperson for acting consistently with the doctrine of the ACA.

The Australian General Synod will meet in Maroochydore, southern Queensland later in the year, where it is expected these issues will be vigorously debated.

In 2019, GAFCON set up an alternative diocese in New Zealand where twelve parishes (they have since grown to 17) broke away from the Anglican Church of New Zealand's decision to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages. They voted to leave their dioceses. The Rev. Jay Behan was elected to serve as the bishop for the newly organized Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The GAFCON Primate's Council endorsed the new Diocese, recognizing it as authentically Anglican, and said it was in full communion, "celebrating our common life."

A number of global archbishops were present, including ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, GAFCON chairman; Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney; Bishop Richard Condie of Tasmania, GAFCON Australia's chair, and Bishop Bill Atwood, of the International Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America.


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