THINKING ANGLICANS

GAFCON Primates meeting

The Primates Council of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) met in Kenya this week and issued this Communiqué. It includes the following appendix referring to the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Appendix: From Canterbury to Lusaka

Last January, we spent time together at the Primates Gathering contending for a restoration of godly order within the Anglican Communion. The sanctions passed at that meeting were not in themselves capable of restoring order, but they were a potential first step.

At that meeting, we acknowledged the reality of the “significant distance” between us and “expressed a desire to walk together” if possible. This distance was created when The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture.

Within hours of the meeting’s end the public responses from many bishops, clergy, and lay people of The Episcopal Church made it clear that they did not desire to share the same journey. The biblical call to repentance is a call to make a 180 degree turn. It grieves us that many in The Episcopal Church have again rejected this call. While we desire to walk together, until there is true repentance, the reality is that they are deliberately walking away from the Anglican Communion and the authority of Scripture at a distance that continues to increase.

The recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia has again highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion.

Nonetheless, we give thanks that these events have brought further clarity, and drawn GAFCON closer together in the mission of the Gospel. We are of one mind that the future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written. What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing: enabling global fellowship and godly order, united by biblical faithfulness. This unity has provided us with great energy to continue to work for the renewal of the Anglican Communion.

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Earth to Lambeth: Your obfuscation isn’t working.

Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

‘What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing’ – sounds like a rather tired and sad statement in response to a rather successful ACC-16 meeting.

DBD
Guest

TEC are ‘walking away from the Communion’?! You set up your own alternative conference, you crazy fools! (Mt 7)

Kate
Guest
Kate

Sawdust. Plank.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

The ACC is saying we can truly walk together with our differences. The ACC has prioritized the real Gospel of Jesus to care for one another over the ego needs of GAFCON primates to impose their fundamentalist view on the rest of the communion. The GAFCON primates are the ones “tearing at the fabric of the Anglican Communion.” For the most part, Anglicanism is not about a fundamentalist approach to Scripture, it is more holistic. We can share in the breaking of the bread and work together on compassion and healing without agreeing on everything. The big picture doctrine is… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

It seems these Primates do not understand the meaning of “walking together”. It does not mean everyone dutifully following one “leader”, but often means negotiating about the direction, with plenty of room for disagreements. It seems they want to walk together only if they alone choose the destination and the means of getting there. As to matters of doctrine or polity decided by ACC, the only thing close to a doctrinal statement that I can see is in Resolution 16.03.2: “upholds just relationships between women and men as a reflection of our Christian belief that women and men are equally… Read more »

Karen MacQueen
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Karen MacQueen

The agenda of the GAFCON Primates is very clear. They will attempt to exclude the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and admit the Anglican Church in North America as a full voting member. They will continue to use the so-called Instruments of Communion to accomplish this. The timeline is three years from now.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

From the appendix, “This action [TEC-ACC] has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of The Communion.” Indeed! What we have here is an example of projection. What a study in contrasts. Here we have GAFCON with their dogmatism, and boycotts, and demands that the Primates are not to be “defied”. On the other hand, ACC has taken the conciliatory and diplomatic approach that holds out hope for effective conflict resolution. Find the authentic “instrument of communion” in this picture. Not difficult to see who… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

“Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates.”

Or so holds a blogger at Episcopal Café.

The ACC isn’t a doctrine-producing body. It is consultative in character. Thankfully even Tom Ferguson is calling for a halt in TEC’s efforts to make ACC something it isn’t.

June Butler
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June Butler

“The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture.”

I was not aware that the Anglican Communion had a body of doctrines beyond the creeds. What am I missing?

Daniel Berry
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Daniel Berry

When did the Anglican communion get “doctrines”?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Thankfully even Tom Ferguson is calling for a halt in TEC’s efforts to make ACC something it isn’t.” Classic projection! Wow. The ACC asserted their independence from the primates, not TEC in particular. It’s the primates who overstepped and who have absolutely NO authority to determine doctrine for any province other than their own. TEC merely said that they were there and participated in an event that was very positive in fellowship, worship, and outcome. If ACC doesn’t matter because “isn’t a doctrine-producing body,” then the full participation of the TEC delegation shouldn’t be a big deal. But clearly, it… Read more »

Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

Hmmm. So the ACC isn’t a doctrine producing body, yet the primates somehow found it necessary to keep TEC folks from voting on matters of doctrine at the ACC? Sounds a little odd, there cseitz. Additionally, the TEC reps didn’t introduce the resolutions on doctrine. They just voted on them. So if someone is trying to make the ACC into something it isn’t, I suggest you look to the folks who proposed the resolutions. In the case of the resolutions on doctrine, that would be Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order. In the case of the resolution that… Read more »

Frank Paul Morgan
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Frank Paul Morgan

This is pure madness. Blind belief and God’s true word always a recipe for disaster.

Father David
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Father David

“We have no doctrine of our own. We only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, and these creeds we hold without addition or diminution.” G Fisher ABC. Trouble is those same creeds contain no reference to that which the Primates and the ACC delegates find to be so vexatious. If only we could conjure up from history one of those famous letters bearing the Trent postmark addressed to his successor giving helpful advice to Michael Ramsey. Letters which so often got accidentally smeared in breakfast marmalade and sometimes found their way unopened into… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
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Andrew Lightbown

The whole thing is a mess: Primates who think that they act as a Magesterium over a global denomination; they don’t. Consultative bodies who issue nice sounding statements and make resolutions and then individual churches, many of which ‘hold’ a wide range of differing views and theologies. If the ‘communion’ is to continue it can only do so as a loose federation with the provinces relating to Canterbury. This would be a far more democratic and economically more sensible model. But, there again the Primates aren’t really interested in ‘democratic’ theology, still less the principle of subsidiarity.

Simon Butler
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Simon Butler

I find this all rather sad. The number of grassroots parochial Anglicans who give a flying fig about this political posturing is tiny. Even in the Provinces where the GAFCON Primates serve (note the word), the bonds of affection across the communion remain strong and continue in spite of the efforts of a small number of British and American ‘ultras’ to turn churches to their sectarian agenda. None of this is to diminish the right of African or other Provinces to take a view on sexuality that differs from that of the US (the Primates meeting sort of reinforced that… Read more »

Cassandra
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Cassandra

I just got slightly dizzy trying to do a 180 degree repentance move while walking. I don’t recommend it.

cseitz
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cseitz

“The whole thing is a mess.”

Yes indeed.

Thank goodness no one has to go through this exercise for another 3 years or so. TEC claiming it is voting on doctrines; Gafcon claiming it is doing that so as to take exception to it; warnings about English law waved in the air; behind the scenes negotiations with +Douglas so that he steps back; paternity matters in the news.

If one returned from five years in outer space and read about this event, it would not be believed for its bizarre presentation.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thanks to Cassandra for the voice of sanity in the context of much craziness. Goodness knows, there’s a need for some humour in all this mess.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I’m not too happy to see that the recent meeting of some of the Gafcon Primates in Nairobi saw fit to include in their communique – as their allies in Aotearoa/New Zealand – 500 people gathered under the hastily-erected flag of FoCA, calling itself FOCANZ, over the last few days. These people have already aligned themselves with the one schismatic (ex-Anglican) parish in the Waikato diocese, hoping, no doubt, to takeover the name and legacy of ACANZP, under the self-nominated title of ‘authentic Anglicanism’. They are, admittedly, just a small bunch of Kiwis, but one is mindful of Gafcons’ influence… Read more »

S Cooper
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S Cooper

hope placed on technicalities….. so much faith in Welby?

Daniel Berry
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Daniel Berry

I’ve said this elsewhere, but don’t mind repeating it: the only thing in our formularies that I know of that could conceivably be construed as an “Anglican doctrine” of marriage is in Article XXV of he 39 Articles, which says marriage isn’t to be “counted for sacraments of the Gospel,” going so far as to say that it “pertain(s) to a state of life allowed in scripture.” Since same-sex couples living together in self-sacrificing, unconditional love isn’t mentioned in scripture; and since many of the instances of heterosexual marriage illustrated in scripture are so repugnant to modern sensibilities and ideas… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Cseitz, “…bizarre presentation.” Really? Not to mention your own fanciful analysis, usually offered up either without evidence or contraindicated by the text of articles or documents as written. Continuing with your outer space analogy, how is life on Mars?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Yes, Daniel; we don’t hear much about Art.XX4 from the thirtynine-artifacts group. Naturally, being non-sacramental, that makes marriage second-order material, and not worth argumentaion.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Father Ron, “marriage second-order material, and not worth argumentation.” That is certainly true on the face of it; but in many ways the marriage issue is a proxy issue, dog whistle politics of a sort, for the larger issues of a culture clash harnessed to politcal power within The communion. The presence of the ACNA guy at the Primates “gathering”, the ongoing relationship between ACNA and some of the Primates, the inclusion of ACNA in the “Growth” section of the GAFCON communication, the presence of the ACNA guy in their Primates’ Council, all evidences that the long game is… Read more »

Kenneth
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Kenneth

The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines.

cseitz
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cseitz

Dear Mr Gillias, Just fine. I ran into Lonergan and he says to say hello! Sunday best wishes.

John Swanson
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John Swanson

So what do we think Welby is thinking? Even if he managed to convince himself after the Primates meeting that they all wanted to walk together (and that the sanctions weren’t sanctions but consequences), he’s surely too intelligent to believe that any more.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “Dear Mr Gillias [Sic], Just fine. I ran into Lonergan and he says to say hello! Sunday best wishes.”

LOL, LOL; So you have been way past Mars I reckon, the seventh heaven maybe? Keep the quibbling, wedge politics, and talking through your hat coming. My blue collar union upbringing makes your rejoinders virtually irresistible. ( :

bon dimanche.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

I think Welby has to be coming to the conclusion that maintaining a facade of Communion unity is a fool’s errand.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines.”

ACNA believes and teaches doctrines as it *interprets* the Bible, Kenneth. Those not affiliated w/ ACNA, every bit as devoted to the Bible as you are, interpret it differently.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I agree, Rod. The prsence of the ACNA ‘Archbishop’ on the hustings with the GAFCON lot, is the only way these African Primates have into their attempted invasion of North America. However,schism only leads to more schism, as experience has already proved in North America. I don’t think acna/foca/gafcon will ever really take on in the free world of Anglicanism

In the meantime, Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Kenneth, “The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines.” Whether or not, and to what extent, a “biblical” ethic is possible remains an unresolved problem in theology. ACNA and GAFCON may have resolved this for themselves, but that hardly closes the question for the rest of us.

Dogmatism is sometimes an additional complicating factor. It usually requires what writers call a foil to highlight the virtues of the (self) righteous. The usual targets include gays, women, Muslims, the “unorthodox” and so forth.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

I agree with Simon Butler. This is rather sad and irrelevant.
Is anyone else tired of this phrase: “and further torn the fabric of the Communion”? If anything tears at the fabric of the communion it’s this self righteous segregationist posturing of the Gafconites. They have ‘cried wolf’ so many times but don’t actually seem to do anything other than huff and puff.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Perversely, I take some pleasure from this announcement, since it at least confirms that GAFCON had the same impression of the outcome as the Episcopalians. When the first report in these pages that ACC had declined to support the Primates’ statement was via a link to the Episcopal News Service, I feared that GAFCON might have taken a different view, but this criticism confirms that they saw it the same way. Well Done to the ACC!
As to the ABC’s bizarre attempt to spin the outcome as being supportive of the Primates’ statement, dream on!

Christopher Seitz
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Christopher Seitz

“My blue collar union upbringing makes your rejoinders virtually irresistible.”

Thank you for sharing. Sounds very deep.

Amities en Christ.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

In the UK, as I think we all realise, this debate is entirely over. The predicted dooms that would follow from same sex marriage, the thousands of laws that would need revising, the families ripped apart, the rise in sexual diseases and, indeed, water levels, have not happened. There is no public debate about same sex marriage, outside tiny and rather nasty enclaves of the hard right. The idea that it is ever going to get back onto the legislative agenda and be cast into the outer darkness by a rising sun of righteousness is preposterous. The CofE can continue… Read more »

Alan T Perry
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Alan T Perry

“The ACC isn’t a doctrine-producing body. It is consultative in character.”

I agree on this point with cseitz.

In fact, there is no body in the Anglican Communion that makes decisions with respect to doctrine other than the local General Synods or equivalent. The highest legislative body in the Anglican Communion is the local General Synod. Period.

Daniel Berry
Guest
Daniel Berry

@ Kenneth on Sunday, apparently you didn’t read or didn’t comprehend the rest of my posting. Go back and try again, why don’tcha’?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “Sounds very deep.” Funny you should say that. For some of my family, it was profoundly deep, ocean deep collieries deep. Some the smartest guys in the room paid for their education, or that of their children, by working in them.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“Funny you should say that. For some of my family, it was profoundly deep, ocean deep collieries deep. Some the smartest guys in the room paid for their education, or that of their children, by working in them.”

Thanks again for sharing.

And this is related to anything how … except autobiography?

“Irresistible” — for whom besides yourself?

Susannah Clark
Guest

I wish the whole Anglican Communion, and all of us here, would reflect on Psalm 133: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in unity!” Or as the gospel says: A new commandment I give you. Love one another.” And in the epistles: “Now these three remain – faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” We need to learn to wash one another’s feet, and seek one another’s prosperity. The Anglican Communion needs to remember this call to grace, and it’s really sad if we don’t, because there is so much… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Mr Perry Well thank God we agree on the fact that an Anglican Consultative Council is, well, consultative in character. TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it. To my mind it would not matter whether someone classified ‘Christian marriage’ a doctrine or not. Orthodox Christians of various stripe have held different views. That the Primates appealed to this tells me more about their common mind than about the probity of the term as such. That +Curry referred to this common mind, and even referred to ‘doctrine’, tells me again that he was referring to the mind of the meeting.… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it.”

I disagree that we (TEC) produced anything remotely grandiose. I think the illusions of grandiosity are on the side of the GAFCON bishops.

The ACC decided to actually walk together. I would agree that that is just grand!

Christopher Seitz
Guest
Christopher Seitz

“What matters is ‘Will you open your heart to grace and love?'”

That is a question so terribly well-intentioned.

“Mercy and Truth have kissed each other.”

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Appeals to ‘love’ will sound like ‘good conduct requests’ but these will never soar with the Love of God in Christ until they are brought fully within his saving judgments and Truth.

And that, dear Susannah, is where the larger disagreement manifests itself.

(I leave aside the pettiness and so forth that blogs engender.)

But God will plough the fields in his Time’s swath. So be assured.

Daniel Berry
Guest
Daniel Berry

I repeat:

“…many of the instances of heterosexual marriage illustrated in scripture are so repugnant to modern sensibilities and ideas of justice that they’re illegal in most civilized countries…”

Does anyone here believe it’s lamentable that civilized societies finally found it necessary, beginning in the 17th Century, deliberately to exclude the savagery of Bronze Age ethics that condition much of the bible?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it.”

It was the Primates, especially the GAFCON Primates, who wanted the ACC to act beyond its remit.

That gambit seems to have failed, and failed spectacularly.

Yet here you are trying to spin it otherwise. No one is fooled.

Greg Jones
Guest
Greg Jones

Exactly ten years ago I waded into Anglican/Episcopal cyber forums, blogs and chat rooms with great relish. Then, about eight years ago, I left that conversation. I am sad to say that as I peruse the comments in this post — for the first time in many years — I see the same exact arguments being made by (alas) the same people. Friends, this is not getting anywhere.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “And this is related to anything how … except autobiography?” You are partially correct in that it is an autobiographical aside; but connected to my previous point about growing up in a blue collar union background. I couldn’t resist the play on words your apparently scornful use of the word “deep” handed me. Besides, as a guy who likes to engage in a little autobiography himself,I thought you might appreciate my aside. But to return and continue, the first adult conversation I can recall having about the church and the social question, outside of distinctly church circles, was… Read more »