Bishops and members of the Global Anglican Future Conference stroll outside All Saints Cathedral during a recent conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili

Conservative Anglican group backs away from split with Anglican Communion

Bishops and members of GAFCON stroll outside of All Saint Cathedral during a recent conference in Kenya.  Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili

Bishops and members of the Global Anglican Future Conference stroll outside All Saints Cathedral during a recent conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili


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(RNS) Widely viewed as a schismatic movement, the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON, a grouping of conservative Anglicans, says it is not leaving the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Instead, the movement says it is committed to renewing the 85 million-member communion from within.

GAFCON members from Africa, Europe, America and Asia, met in London last week where they discussed the future of global Anglicanism.

“The members of our churches stand at the heart of the communion, which is why we are committing to its renewal,” the GAFCON Primate Council said in a statement at the end of the April 13-17 conference. “We belong to the mainstream, and we are moving forward.”

The movement started in Jerusalem in 2008 as a response to the consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson by the Episcopal Church.

It has gained ground, planting 483 new congregations in North America since 2009, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America reported at the meeting.

Beach, who heads a rival group to the Episcopal Church, was elected to the GAFCON Council, the top decision making organ of the movement. Fellowships of Anglicans in Australia, England and Ireland are affiliated with GAFCON.

According to the statement, the movement says it has prioritized clear theological education and training of leaders, especially bishops.

At the London meeting, the primates said they are concerned the mother church has drifted away from biblical faith and voiced a new concern: interfaith relationships with Muslims.

“We do not regard the recent use of a Church of England building for a Muslim service as a minor aberration,” the council said. “These actions betray the Gospel and discourage Christians who live among Muslims, especially those experiencing persecution.”

In the past, some GAFCON bishops have criticized the Anglican Communion for being supportive of gays and lesbians.

YS/AMB END NZWILI

Comments

  1. This line is at best misleading, and at worst untrue: “African bishops criticize the Church of England for championing women priests and bishops and being supportive of gays and lesbians.”

    These issues were not a part of the Communique because these issues were not a part of the London meeting.

    In point of fact some GAFCON provinces including Kenya and Uganda have women clergy. Regarding homosexuality, provinces such as the Anglican Church in North America are very supportive of their same-sex attracted members who are committed to Christian discipleship. Painting the recent GAFCON meeting as a reaction against female clergy and homosexuals is not accurate.

    The Communique says “GAFCON embodies an inclusive and confessionally grounded orthodoxy in continuity with the Scriptures, apostolic tradition, and ethos of the Book of Common Prayer. There is much room for variety within the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, but when the Gospel is at stake there can never be a…

  2. The Communique says “GAFCON embodies an inclusive and confessionally grounded orthodoxy in continuity with the Scriptures, apostolic tradition, and ethos of the Book of Common Prayer. There is much room for variety within the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, but when the Gospel is at stake there can never be a middle way.”

  3. Why have they put aside Reason? Hooker made Scripture, Traditon,…. And Reason, the hallmarks of Anglicanism.

  4. Stunning how deeply anti-gay hatred runs, even though Jesus Christ said not one word on the subject other than “love one another, as I have loved you.”

  5. As Jesus IS the Word of God incarnate (cf. John 1), it stands to reason that whatever the Bible says, Jesus says.
    “All Scripture is God-breathed”; again, it stands to reason that if Jesus is God incarnate then He breathed ALL of Scripture and therefore also breathed the prohibitions against homosexual activity.
    We are not ONLY “red letter” Christians (in fact they don’t exist),but Bible believers. It is through the Bible that God chose to reveal Himself to the human race today.
    So let’s not use this “Jesus didn’t say it” nonsense.

  6. Stunning how deeply anti-GAFCON hatred runs, even though their Communique said not one word on the subject other than “GAFCON embodies an inclusive and confessionally grounded orthodoxy.”

  7. So, do you support slavery (1 Timothy 6:1-2), and believe rape victims should be killed (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), too? Or, do you just hate fags?

  8. “Inclusive”? ROFLMAO.

    Goebbels would have loved that Big Lie.

  9. Obviously there is a history here that one brief article about a meeting in London can’t take the time to explain. It’s the stuff of a modern novel, involving millions in dark money, shadowy special interest groups, secret plans, betrayals, and an international conspiracy. The author might even make the case for a murder or two. If you follow the money you’ll find the origins of GAFCON are in the United States, among those unhappy with the Episcopal Church, particularly its progressive turn and its political influence. Homosexuality just happened to be a useful wedge issue in the US and a powerful tool in Africa.
    The word “confessional” is loaded with meaning; in this case it means “if you don’t agree with us you can’t be one of us.” It’s only “inclusive” in the sense that they all agree on whatever the definitive idea is. Some denominations are confessional in this sense, but the Episcopal Church has never been one of them. Nor has the Church of England for the…

  10. “Renewing from within” NEVER works. NEVER.

    It doesn’t work in secular situations like government agencies that have turned corrupt. It CERTAINLY doesn’t work with a church that has firmly switched to Satan’s side.

    Secession is the only choice.

    I really hoped the African Anglicans would have more guts. Now is not the time for patience and caution.

  11. As to Deuteronomy, no Catholics that I know of (and so, I assume, no Anglo-Catholics) believe that the specific legalistic rules of Deuteronomy (or Leviticus, etc.) apply to modern Christians. We eat shellfish, and wear polyfiber blends, and if we really want to yoke an ox and a mule together, we’ll darn well do it.

    It’s the *moral* precepts of the Bible that are timeless. Also, homosexual conduct is condemned by Paul, not just by the OT.

    As to slavery, Biblical slavery was very much different than what we think of. It would be called, in modern times, indenture, not slavery. So, Paul telling slaves to honor their masters was basically telling them to respect the people they had legally promised to serve. Moreover, in the very same Epistle (1 Timothy 1), Paul lists slave traders among the worst of sinners, and in Philemon, he encourages (albeit subtly) the manumission of the slave Onesimus.

    Find a different stick to flog Christians with.

  12. Andrew, surely you jest. There’s not one of the GAFCON provinces that would ordain a gay/lesbian clergy member. I know better, and surely you do, too.
    In particular, the past primate of Uganda has urged adoption of a law that would imprison and execute gay people and would jail anyone who knows about them.
    Tell the truth about GAFCON, my brother.

  13. Anthony,

    “…homosexual conduct is condemned by Paul…”

    From Paul’s own hand he writes —
    1. …our knowledge is partial and incomplete…
    2. …we see things imperfectly…
    3. All that I know now is partial and incomplete…
    (1 Corinthians 13:9,12)

    Considering that honest self appraisal about his own knowledge and understanding, I think that the ‘worthiness’ of his advice and admonishment is questionable.

    Obviously then, we always need to discover or uncover new and better ways of understanding an issue than rely solely on scripture, which is too incomplete and imperfect.

  14. I’m not sure why you are misinformed Lisa, but The Anglican Church in North America has clergy and lay leaders who are same-sex attracted. They would take issue with RNS’s assertion that they are not supported by their church.

  15. What do the leaders of GAFCON want? If they are set on renewal from the inside, then this doesn’t match their embrace of schismatics within their own leadership (the Archbishop so-called, of ACNA.)

  16. Clergy/laity with SSA are in ACNA. The important distinction between them and those like them in TEC, however, is that ACNA’s members must remain “committed to Christian discipleship.” That means they must remain celibate. (There is no same-sex marriage in ACNA.)

  17. Ted: Please see Mark 7:21-23 and check the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament on πορνεῖαι.

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