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By David W. Virtue, DD
February 2, 2020

A de facto split has already occurred in the Anglican Communion and the only question now is if and when it becomes de jure.

The Anglican Archbishop of South America, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables said the inescapable truth is that it is bound to happen, with the biggest challenge being how to avoid or accomplish it.

Addressing the future of the communion following the meeting of some 37 Anglican primates in Jordan called together at the request of Archbishop Justin Welby, the titular head of the communion, Venables, an outspoken evangelical, said a number of Anglicans were walking in different directions despite all the talk of "walking together".

"Of course, there is a great desire for those going off in an unbiblical direction to repent and return, but failing that, we cannot walk together. We all desire to walk together, but increasingly we are recognizing that it is simply not going to be possible. We are however walking together in the sense of talking and seeking to find the correct way to deal with the brokenness."

Pressed on the tone of the conversation about the Gospel and Biblical faith, Venables said; "There was no need to guess. The vast majority of the Primates in attendance were in agreement that we should preach Biblical, saving faith and not embrace innovations that go against the Bible such as same-sex marriage or the blessing of same-sex unions. Those are not the only problematic teachings, but they are often the presenting issue from those who do not conform to Biblical authority and the historic teaching of the Church."

Venables further proffered that more and more Primates made it clear that they would not go the way of the innovations, that they believed the "faith once for all delivered."

"I was particularly encouraged that almost all the new Primates (and there were 12 who were new) were very clear that they are orthodox."

Venables noted that in the provinces where unbiblical practices have been permitted, there was still a lot of orthodoxy in their regions. He also said there would be no reversal in those provinces.

"Everyone was clear that the differences are fundamental and major, that we are in a broken state of communion and that we haven't been able to find a way forward. We talked freely about how all attempts so far haven't been followed through."

So, the question now is where does this leave the Anglican Communion?

The Western provinces are theologically and morally progressive, demographically aging and dying. For their innovations on human sexuality, they face going out of business within a couple of decades. Meanwhile, the Global South continues to grow and thrive.

Furthermore, the make-up of the Communion is no longer white, male and Western; it is black, female and under 30, which begs the question as to who now should be calling the shots.

This point was raised regarding the way forward and the structures of the Communion and the Instruments of Communion and the difficulties encountered when differences arise. There was passing reference to the incongruity that the Archbishop of Canterbury is chosen by the English government and just presented to the Anglican Communion. So why not kick Welby to the curb? He is increasingly irrelevant to the communion and his smackdown of GAFCON only made him more enemies.

Venables said there was talk about a mechanism for the Primates to choose one of its number to be the Chair picked by the Primates. So why not pick outgoing Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh? He is Primate of the largest province in the communion and is solidly orthodox in faith and morals. He has also witnessed persecution and seen the damage Western acceptance of homosexuality has wrought on his people through the vicious attacks of Islamic terrorists who condemn sodomy.

Welby has failed in his efforts to get all the primates on board. GAFCON is a reality and he cannot wish it away. When they meet a couple of months before the Lambeth conference meets in Canterbury, the GAFCON primates will reaffirm the gospel, uphold resolution 1:10, reject pansexuality in all its forms, uphold new structural instruments and stick it to Welby as hard as they can without looking gleeful or too proud.

Welby knows this and can do nothing about it.

Welby doesn't know what sort of a backlash he will face from homosexual and lesbian partnered bishops in Canterbury, who will talk to the media about how lacking in diversity he is, only further humiliating him. This is Welby's first Lambeth rodeo, and in all likelihood his last. This is my third and I know how this will go and it will end badly for Welby. Ecclesiastical pansexual soldiers of the sexual revolution will tear him to pieces.

The communion has been slowly coming apart since the Windsor Report and is only getting progressively worse. You can read Canon Phil Ashey's brilliant summary, Can Two walk Together, here: https://virtueonline.org/how-can-two-walk-together

In his plea to Anglican communion leaders, Ashey calls for faithful Bishops meeting in Kigali to address the underlying issue that is driving so much false teaching in the Communion about gender, sexuality and "human flourishing," especially in those Anglican churches gripped by the forces of secularizing cultures.

"Dear Bishops, in your determination to meet in Kigali rather than Canterbury in 2020, you have assumed the moral authority and responsibility that Bishops rightly exercise to guard the faith and order, doctrine and discipline of the Church. You can do this for the Anglican Communion in contrast to the Canterbury-led bishops who will almost surely weaken the doctrine and order of the Church when they meet at Lambeth [2020].

"Dear Bishops, would you please exercise your teaching authority in Council to articulate for Anglicans yet again the Biblical and catholic understanding of human identity, human freedom, and human flourishing? Would this not enable us as global Anglicans to address the secularizing cultures and pressures of the West with a true and alternative vision of human freedom and dignity that manifests the "truthing in love" (Ephesians 4:15) that Paul commends we do in proclaiming Christ faithfully. And wouldn't such a clear articulation from our Gafcon Bishops set a wonderful table for Gafcon 2023?"

The Anglican Communion no longer belongs to the West. It has been the wisdom of the Global South to let it all play out till the West keels over like a dying brontosaurus, and simply takeover, but the words of Archbishop Venables seems to indicate that a formal split might be necessary now, after all we have the example set by the United Methodist Church which is heading into formal schism, why can't Anglicans do the same?


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