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By David W. Virtue, DD
April 21, 2023

It is clear now that the future of Global Anglicanism has passed from Canterbury to GAFCON and the Global South. Most of the world's practicing Anglicans, some 85%, have cast a vote of no confidence in the Archbishop of Canterbury and declared themselves to be in broken communion with the Church of England. There is no question now that the Archbishop of Canterbury's role as Communion leader is over.

Today, a new future dawned for 1,300 Anglicans - laity, clergy and bishops - meeting in Rwanda. And they did so on behalf of 70 million fellow Anglicans from a multitude of tribes, languages, peoples, and nations.

"The Instruments of Communion have failed to maintain true communion based on the Word of God and shared faith in Christ"; the "leadership role" in the Anglican Communion of the Archbishop of Canterbury has been rendered "indefensible" by the failure of "successive" Archbishops of Canterbury "to guard the faith" by exercising appropriate discipline "compounded by" Justin Welby's "welcoming the provision of liturgical resources to bless practices contrary to Scripture," said the statement.

The tear in the Anglican Communion is irreparable and irreversible unless Archbishop Welby and those that follow him, repent. Thomas Cranmer would have understood and wept. Just as Cranmer challenged the Roman Catholic Church over some of its doctrinal stances, he would have cast his vote for GAFCON and moved on.

It took four days of writing, consultation and revision for delegates to the fourth Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON IV) to approve by acclamation the final Conference Statement - The Kigali Commitment.

But from the time the fabric of the communion was torn in 2003 by the consecration of a non-celibate homosexual to the Episcopal Church's episcopacy, western Anglicanism has been on a downward slide -- morally, theologically, and demographically.

From the statement: The current divisions in the Anglican Communion have been caused by radical departures from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some within the Communion have been taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world (Colossians 2:8). Such a failure to hear and heed God's Word undermines the mission of the church as a whole.

Despite 25 years of persistent warnings by most Anglican Primates, repeated departures from the authority of God's Word have torn the fabric of the Communion. These warnings were blatantly and deliberately disregarded and now, without repentance, this tear cannot be mended.

The latest of these departures is the majority vote by the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2023 to welcome proposals by the bishops to enable same-sex couples to receive God's blessing. It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin.

We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him (the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meetings) are able to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency and authority of Scripture. The Instruments of Communion have failed to maintain true communion based on the Word of God and shared faith in Christ.

Successive Archbishops of Canterbury have failed to guard the faith by inviting bishops to Lambeth who have embraced or promoted practices contrary to Scripture. This failure of church discipline has been compounded by the current Archbishop of Canterbury who has himself welcomed the provision of liturgical resources to bless these practices contrary to Scripture. This renders his leadership role in the Anglican Communion entirely indefensible.

We long for this repentance but until they repent, our communion with them remains broken. We consider that those who refuse to repent have abdicated their right to leadership within the Anglican Communion, and we commit ourselves to working with orthodox Primates and other leaders to reset the Communion on its biblical foundations.

At a press conference, GAFCON chairman Archbishop Foley Beach reiterated that the communion is broken because some parts have walked away. "It is on them," he opined. "Archbishop has broken with us; therefore, the brokenness is on them."

In view of the current crisis, we reiterate our support for those who are unable to remain in the Church of England because of the failure of its leadership. We rejoice in the growth of the ANiE and other GAFCON aligned networks. We also continue to stand with and pray for those faithful Anglicans who remain within the Church of England. We support their efforts to uphold biblical orthodoxy and to resist breaches of Resolution I.10.


Primates and delegates were at pains to affirm "that every person is loved by God and we are determined to love as God loves," and as Resolution I.10 affirmed, they opposed the vilification or demeaning of any person including those who do not follow God's ways, since all human beings are created in God's image.

One cannot accuse these primates of homophobia; sin is sin whether it is committed by homosexuals or heterosexuals who break their marriage vows.

One blogger made the observation that the Commitment may turn out to be one of the most significant documents in the history of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. That is certainly the understanding and expectation of the delegates who have taken the discharge of their responsibilities commensurately seriously, in two senses of the word - assiduously but also solemnly.

Chairman Beach said there was no joy in doing what they had to do. "It grieves us," he said. There was great sadness in taking the stance they did, but it was necessary. It is family grieving fractured relationships."

Nothing has been done lightly, whether in word or spirit, or "for the joy of fighting." And so, on Thursday, knowing that it was to publish a statement containing much public admonishment, the Conference was called to a time of self-reflection and repentance before finally taking that lamentable step. The gathering was reminded that the Word of God comes first to each delegate and that Jesus said, "... repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand", and yet each has offended against His holy laws, done those things that ought not to have been done and not done those things that ought to have done and, save by His grace, there is no health in anyone.

GAFCON'S future will be in close partnership with its counterpart, the Global South Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFSA) with whom they will work collectively, even as one movement focuses on mission and the other on synodical issues. They are both working form the same handbook -- the Bible.

From this writer's perspective, it is a vindication of 35 years of reporting on the Anglican communion. In the end, God wins. The Anglican communion now firmly entrenched in the Global South will continue to rise and shout the Gospel from mountain tops to plains, and those of us in the West, a remnant, will rise with them to shout that 'Jesus shall reign where'er the sun does its successive journeys run, his kingdom stretch from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more.'


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