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By David W. Virtue, DD
February 22, 2023

Astute observers of the Anglican Communion and the Church of England will have noticed the increasing authoritarianism of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

His willingness to flout 2000 years of church teaching on human sexuality and bully global south archbishops over homosexuality, indicates a papal like authority he has gathered to himself that should alarm everybody.

His hatred of evangelicals who refuse to fall into line, and in the case of the ACNA Archbishop, failure to even recognize him as an authentic Anglican, should trouble even liberals and progressives who believe in the fabled doctrines of inclusion and diversity. His authoritarianism is emerging at warp speed.

That he seems bent on playing into the hands of a small group of pansexualists in the name of their felt pain along with high talk of inclusion and diversity, is morally distressing to say the least.

He calls GAFCON a "ginger group," a not-so-subtle put down, and finds the GSFA presence at 2022's Lambeth conference (they who insist on the permanency of 1998's Lambeth resolution 1.10) an irritant to his "big-picture" climate change notions, only cements his papal like ambitions.

He hobnobs with Pope Francis as primate inter pares and would love to rule with a heavy hand but cannot because of the interdependency of the provinces.

But now he has received the sharpest pushback to his papal tendencies with a statement from the GSFA, declaring that they will do a "reset" of the communion in the face of his heretical views on human sexuality.

It is clear that Welby long ago abandoned his ALPHA evangelicalism because of its absolutes on morality and Scripture; his theological foundations shattered beyond recovery.

If Scripture is just one authority along with reason and tradition, then why not add himself as the uniting force to bring it altogether!

Welby wants us to believe he has risen above us all as a Tower of Babel-like figure and center of worship, a latter-day Moses coming down from the mountain with tablets of reconciliation in hand to instruct us all.

He brushed off the GSFA document that said they would no longer recognize his leadership of the communion because of their failure to see him as the center of the Anglican universe as the Great Reconciler.

Welby's inability to keep a consistent message, which changes according to his audience, indicates a mindset of control that fails when all sides disagree with him. He rises above the fray invoking his alleged authority with words like "disagreeing well" which laughably unites nobody and nothing.

It seems that Universalism is the inevitable corollary of such a self-imagined role, setting himself above the Church of England, the Anglican Communion, and English society.

Bonhoeffer said, "Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner." But that's what is on offer to the people of England. Cheap grace. No sin. No judgement. Just a warm, cozy feeling of "inclusion."

But is clear now that both GAFCON and the GSFA have had enough of Welby's papal-like stances and utterances as the great mediator and reconciler; come April when the GAFCON primates and bishops meet in Kigali they will send him the ultimate message that his papal-like tenure is over. They will cast him aside - an ecclesiastical rag doll of a colonialist Lear.


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