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Have Three Provinces who Disagree over Homosexuality and Women Bishops left the Anglican Communion?

Have Three Provinces who Disagree over Homosexuality and Women Bishops left the Anglican Communion?

By David W. Virtue, DD
November 14, 2022

It was inevitable, of course. Sooner or later a revisionist Western Anglican archbishop would say what a lot of people are thinking -- that by refusing to participate in the Lambeth Conference one had, in fact, left the Anglican Communion.

This was the conclusion reached this past week by Canadian Anglican Primate Linda Nicholls. She proclaimed in the Anglican Journal that the boycott of the Lambeth Conference by the provinces of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda was a sign that those provinces have left the global grouping of Anglican churches.

"Some have already indicated by their non-participation that they have separated from the Anglican Communion. Others continue to participate despite disagreement and I see that continuing into the future," she said.

Well, there goes the grand new-fangled but fake "doctrines" of inclusion and diversity so praised and revered by western liberals.

She also noted that Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told bishops at Lambeth he did not have the authority to exclude any church from the Anglican Communion. Welby's power is one way. He cannot exclude but he cannot admit.

Of course, he cannot, but he also refused to admit an orthodox Anglican province like the Anglican Church in North America because he sees them as being in competition with the Episcopal Church. God forbid that he should recognize them.

Welby calls himself an evangelical, which is precisely what, theologically, the ACNA is. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry represents everything that Welby does not believe or allegedly doesn't.

Of course, we have known for a long time that it is not the orthodox who have left the Anglican communion, it is the Anglican communion that has left them. It is the orthodox who have maintained the doctrine and discipline of the church and have upheld marriage between man and a woman, a position that has been the standard for over 2000 years, even longer.

Those three provinces have not, in fact, left the Anglican Communion; there has been no formal statement of disassociation.

Put it another way. Children leave home, marry, and move so far away they may never see their parents again. The reasons are many and varied; some of them might be alienation, abuse, or the cost of seeing a parent simply too expensive. However, they will be forever part of a family, even a dysfunctional one.

(For the record, I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome whom I have not seen in 10 years, by his choice. He will still be my son when I come to die. He will still participate in my will.)

Neither the Nigerians, Rwandans or Ugandans have issued a bill of divorce to Justin Welby. Being estranged, even alienated, is still not divorce.

In fact, when asked if their failure to turn up at Lambeth was a sign that they had left the communion, Rwanda Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, replied: "The Anglican Church of Rwanda is fully adherent to the instrument of the Communion and will not leave the Communion. Those who have a problem are those who have departed from the authority of Scripture and are going against the teachings of the Scripture. We ... did not go to Lambeth because of issues clearly articulated to the Archbishop of Canterbury ... Issues are authority of Scripture and ... human sexuality."

Does anybody think that the Nigerians and Ugandans will offer up a different answer from Rwanda?

Primate Mbanda got it exactly right. The twin issues of the authority of Scripture and sexuality made it impossible for them to be there. It's a pity there was not a more united African and Asian front at Lambeth. No matter, the Global South Fellowship of African churches (GSFA) made their position clear, causing no small headache to Welby. Welby tried to parse the whole thing by saying that both positions on sexuality were valid and legitimate, ignoring the Law of Non-Contradiction.

Anglican fudge such as this is the reason that bishops like Michael Nazir-Ali and Gavin Ashenden walked away from the Church of England. They could no longer stomach the moral cowardice and theological weakness of Welby in the face of the overwhelming push by Church of England pansexualists who demand that not only sodomy be accepted, but those who engage in it should be allowed to marry. Those two men issued a bill of divorce to the CofE. There will be no going back. The three African provinces have issued no such divorce papers.

It should not be lost on the communion that it was the Anglican province of Canada that began this sexual apostasy when the former Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, then Canada's only Anglican bishop in 2003, authorized the blessing of homosexual unions.

Linda Nicholls is continuing that tradition in spades, even as the province she presides over will be extinct by 2040 according to official records. Why not go down with the ship; it's a noble tradition that the captain of the Titanic observed.

The big difference is that the captain first ensures the safe evacuation of every passenger before he evacuates himself. In this case the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) lifeboat was formed to rescue those jumping off the ACoC ship. Nicholls or her successor will preside over a church that will have already disappeared by the time they draw a pension.

It is profoundly ironic that the provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda together make up more than one third of Anglicans in the entire Communion, (that's approximating 32 million), according to The Living Church. They are thriving and will continue to thrive because for them the gospel comes first and homosexual behavior has no place in their churches. They have seen the devastation homosexual behavior has wrought in western culture and churches that have split to maintain the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Who in their right mind wants to go down that rabbit hole?

Canadian Anglican writer David of Samizdat observed that the fact that the provinces that did not attend Lambeth have full, vibrant churches while liberal western Anglicanism is little more than a twitching corpse whose nervous system is still functioning but has disconnected from any resemblance of sentience does not bother the archbishop. One almost gets the impression she is glad to see the back of these troublesome conservative provinces.

The Anglican Communion will probably hold together. The birth of the Global Anglican Future Conference - GAFCON -- is a restoration movement of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Their mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world, despite what any Archbishop of Canterbury might do.

Archbishop Nicholls might want to believe these African provinces have left the Anglican communion. It is not true. It is her beliefs that have alienated her from most Anglicans who want nothing to do with her. It is she and her ilk that will in that day hear those fateful words, "depart from me I never knew you," Matt: 7:23 a terrifying prospect indeed.

GAFCON Bishop Andy Lines responds to Oxford Bishop Steven Croft here:

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