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GAFCON Chairman says Turmoil in Anglican Communion is Coming from Within

GAFCON Chairman says Turmoil in Anglican Communion is Coming from Within

By David W. Virtue, DD
December 4, 2019

The theological and moral turmoil in the Anglican Communion is coming mainly from within, not just from external sources, says GAFCON chairman, the Most. Rev. Foley Beach.

In his Advent Letter to GAFCON, Beach opined that GAFCON's Suffering Church Network prays for persecuted Christians around the world, including a recent firsthand visit to the Church of Pakistan -- a church which knows only too painfully the cost of discipleship, "sadly, suffering also comes from within the organized church itself as many of us in the Anglican Church in North America, the Anglican Church of Brazil, the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the Scottish Anglican Network know very well.

"We are now seeing growing hostility to orthodox faith in many other places as well. Bishops, clergy, and lay persons in various provinces are being ostracized, condemned, and alienated because they cannot and will not go along with attempts to change basic Christian teaching and morality which contradicts the Bible."

The evangelical archbishop said it was a great joy to learn that the Venerable David McCLay, a leading member of GAFCON Ireland, had been elected as the next Bishop of Down and Dromore. The Archbishop also noted that there was an attempt to block his election by a group of clergy who claimed in a letter to the Irish Times that 'the policies of GAFCON are antithetical' to the principles of the Rite of Consecration, which according to them includes the need to recognize 'sexual diversity'.

"Surely, it is a sign of the deep-seated spiritual crisis and need for repentance in the Anglican Communion when even the rite of Consecration of a Bishop can be made to mean things that were never intended (just as the English House of Bishops repurposed the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith for those who self-identify as transgender)," said Beach.

In June 2020, hundreds of bishops from around the Anglican Communion will be gathering at the GAFCON Bishops' Conference, Kigali 2020, to study the great Biblical truths embedded in the Rite of Consecration and to rededicate themselves to serve as godly, Christ-like shepherds to the people of God, said Beach. "Kigali will be outward looking, a time of unprecedented renewal, vision building and equipping, as we press forward to making Christ known faithfully to the nations."

Beach ripped the Lambeth Conference for its preoccupation with the politics of institutional unity and for endorsing Biblical immorality.

In 1998 when bishops passed Lambeth Resolution 1:10, they signaled that sex must be confined to faithful marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union with no exceptions and that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage. The resolution further argued that homosexuality was incompatible with scripture.

Since then, progressive Anglican provinces have danced around the resolution or done theological and moral contortions to try and make it mean something it didn't. There has been talk of "generous orthodoxy," "good disagreement" a Covenant and a Windsor Report all designed to keep everyone at the table; in the meantime, we have "torn fabric" which the Primates pointed to in 2003 resulting in impaired and broken communion.

Recently, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, tried to put a new spin on things when he told a gathering of Episcopalians in the Diocese of Los Angeles, that the Anglican Communion is "fractured" and we are now an Anglican family. The Anglican 'family' is less about problem-solving and more about creating opportunities for mutual gratitude, connection and understanding, Williams said.

This belies the fact that sometimes marriages fail, parents get divorced and families crash and burn. So, it is with the Anglican Communion. We have de facto two communions, perhaps even three, and there is not a shred of evidence that unity is coming any time soon, if ever. In fact, Archbishop Beach gives not the slightest indication that reconciliation is on the horizon. GAFCON bishops and archbishops will meet in Kigali, Rwanda next year and the Lambeth Conference will meet a couple of months later in Canterbury with a whole different set of bishops. What about that does Williams not understand?

Archbishop Justin Welby is already discredited by inviting bishops in same-sex relationships (and those who consecrated them) to Lambeth next year, violating Lambeth 1:10. Welby has unilaterally decided to overturn it for the Communion.

The Anglican Communion is irretrievably broken. Not even humpty dumpty orthodox theologians like Ephraim Radner can put it back together again.


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