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GAFCON Marches Relentlessly Forward even as Welby's World Withers

GAFCON Marches Relentlessly Forward even as Welby's World Withers

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
May, 19, 2019

A blind man reading a Braille bible could spot the growing fragmentation in the Anglican Communion. It is schism in all but name.

Over passing months, GAFCON gathers to itself a growing core of orthodox Anglicans from across the globe. They demonstrate their discontent with both the status quo and the growing invasion of pansexuality into a Communion increasingly dominated by postmodern, indeed post Christian minds.

As western Anglicanism capitulates before a dying sensate culture, promoting progressive forms of the Christian Faith, true Anglican believers peel off, announcing that enough is enough. They refuse any longer to bow the knee to Canterbury or Lambeth Palace.

It happened again this week. Twelve parishes formerly in the province of Aotearoa, (New Zealand) fed up with their province's drift into the formal acceptance of homoerotic marriage, declared their independence. They announced they were installing their own bishop and would head out on their own to reclaim New Zealand for Christ.

They gathered and formed the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand, a new Anglican Diocese standing firmly in Anglican faith and practice, and structurally distinct from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

It was a bold and brave move. Of course, they are not the first to have abandoned the ecclesiastical ship they had been wallowing in. A group of equally brave Brazilian Anglicans had done the same thing back in 2013, abandoning their ecclesiastically and morally challenged episcopal province that had been backed by the American episcopal church. They launched out on their own.

Excommunicated, with their properties ripped from them, they determined to start over, knowing that God was on their side. Today they are self-sufficient and growing rapidly under the leadership of Bishop Miguel Uchoa.

There are other GAFCON outposts in Europe, Scotland and Ireland. More are anticipated.

It must irk the powers that be at Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office that these "splinter" groups, as they are disingenuously called, are raising the middle finger at Welby and Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, ACC Secretary General. They declare in no uncertain terms that belonging to a morally and theologically conflicted Communion where souls are not being offered the Good News and where the status quo is upheld and pansexuality pushed, that they will no longer play their game. They will start over with the goal to bring Christ to the world.

The apparent clarity of scripture on homosexuality, in fact any form of sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage proscribed by the Bible, is not enough for Justin Welby. He must feel the pain of a handful of sodomists and attempt to bend the Communion to his will and theirs, for an end that has about it the dust of death.

It is incomprehensible that Welby dismisses Scriptures' definitive ruling on sexual behavior, but tentatively smacks the hands of climate change deniers or white privilege purveyors.

But he does, and for his sins of commission he is watching as large pieces of the Communion, like chunks of ice are shearing off from a glacier. They disappear from his grip and sight, never more to be seen.

Liberals and progressives won't give up, of course. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) recently announced that they are doubling their budget to over $6 million to fight for their progressive understanding of the faith, but it won't work. If money can't buy love, it certainly can't make churches grow. It will only buy airline tickets for Africans to attend conferences focusing on faux unity talks, "we don't do doctrine," in tightly controlled Indaba groups.

The American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are set to go out of business in something more than a decade, but in truth their leaders really don't care. God is doing a new thing they tell us, but what it is nobody knows, in truth nobody cares as more of their churches become museums, retirement condos and Muslim centers. The Church Pension Fund will happily send retiring bishops off to golf resorts and second homes with fat pensions to forget the chaos they left behind, hoping against hope that the next bishop will clean up the mess they created as their dioceses declined. How long can you live off the fumes of faith before the whole thing collapses? You will hear a lot about dioceses juncturing in the coming years.

A Windsor Report, a manufactured Covenant, a Reimagined Church, with attempts to double the Church by 2020 has ludicrously failed. Pouring old wine into new wine skins has never worked. The Holy Spirit has steadfastly refused to be hemmed into a progressive corner. The stones cried out and new Anglican groups formed at the insistence of the Third Person of the Trinity's prompting and insistence.

A new day is dawning for Anglicanism. It is being led by powerful African forces once colonized by British Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic Anglican missionaries, who now reside under the banner of GAFCON. They are led by a feisty American Anglican who will not be silenced, and who will happily whack Welby when the occasion calls for it.

GAFCON is now solidly entrenched on every continent. Lambeth Palace and the ACC can do nothing about it, despite shrill cries from Fearon about how it is unnecessary to form new networks, defying his own.

His wine bottle is empty. The spiritual juice of aberrant Anglicanism is all washed out on empty English cathedral floors, kept alive only by money mostly from the deep pockets of the Church of England and the American Episcopal Church, two lame duck provinces with no futures.

GAFCON speaks for 50 million of the Communion's 70 million Anglicans while the liberals, top heavy with miters and priests, keep Almy's and Wippell's in business.

Communion Partner (CP) bishops once the orthodox spine of the American house of bishops, recently capitulated over resolution B012, and same sex marriage, leaving just one bishop to swing in the wind at the end of a disciplinary rope.

The deeper tragedy is not the obvious apostates and heretics like John Shelby Spong, Gene Robinson and Katharine Jefferts Schori, but the more subtle apostates like Welby and Greg Brewer, Bishop of Central Florida, who continue to use the language of evangelicalism, but who have, in fact, sold out to the other side. It comes in subtle CP language like this: "Like the call of all Anglicans to walk together along a common road in one communion, however duly differentiated, Episcopalians are seeking a way of living together imperfectly as Christians in the one Body, while respecting differences of teaching and practice." If that were remotely true the Episcopal Church would not have spent over $60 million fighting for properties that will lie fallow ten years from now.

A recent statement by Brewer on the GAFCON archbishops and bishops meeting in Australia sums up the moment. He called GAFCON'S rival June 2020 bishop's conference "an exacerbation of our divisions" and "a tragedy". Who caused the exacerbations in the first place? Who caused the nightmarish tragedy of division in the Anglican Communion? It certainly was not orthodox Anglicans, of which he was formerly one. He was fully on board with GAFCON One in Jerusalem; now he has gone over to the other side for a miter.

These Communion Partner bishops have become kissing Judas's betraying their Lord. They no longer walk with us.

Sadly, the Anglican Communion has now become the tale of two irreconcilable religions; one that is engaged in self-righteous concern about myriad social concerns and causes about which they can do very little, while the other focuses on bringing the Good News about Jesus to a dying world in need of saving. In the end we know which one will win.

END

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