Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON: a shadow conference

Updated Thursday

Fulcrum has published an article that also appears in this week’s Church of England Newspaper by Graham Kings entitled Substance and Shadow: Lambeth Conference and GAFCON. An extract:

…What is being planned to happen at GAFCON? No mention is made of the background documents of the Lambeth Conference: The Windsor Report, the Covenant Process and the Advent Letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the Ontario conference mentioned above, Chris Sugden described a group of Anglicans (and implied he was included in the definition) who are made up of:

those who disagree with The Episcopal Church in its teaching on doctrines and ethics, and no longer trust the Archbishop of Canterbury to deal adequately with the problem.

This ‘no longer trusting in the Archbishop of Canterbury’ matches his earlier article, ‘Not Schism but Revolution’, in Evangelicals Now (September 2007), where he stated, after a quotation from Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh:

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion.

Some of the planners of GAFCON have a tendency to be militant. They are intent on the setting up a ‘shadow Communion’ not centred on Canterbury. This ‘non-Canterbury Communion’ is openly being discussed on conservative American web sites. The insistence that there are now ‘two branches’ of the Anglican Communion is a crucial part of the deposited legal defence of the churches of the Anglican District of Virginia, part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) led by Martyn Minns, against The Episcopal Church…

Thursday updates

Vinay Samuel has written a letter to the Church of England Newspaper see Dr Vinay Samuel responds to Bishop Tom Wright.

Archbishop Peter Akinola held a press conference in Lagos about GAFCON, see Press Conference – 30th January 2007:

The Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Peter Akinola, gave a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria on January 30 announcing the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in the Holy Land. The occasion was a gathering of the GAFCON Theology Resource Team.

Archbishop Akinola said:

“We are planning a conference in the Holy Land in the month of June: GAFCON – Global Anglican Future Conference. That conference is called by those members of the Anglican Family who see themselves as orthodox Anglicans, who are upholding the authority of scriptures, and believe that the time has come to come together to fashion the future of our Anglican family. This has to be done within a theological framework. They will be producing a book to help all members of the conference to study beforehand. That book will cover the themes for the conference. What are the challenges? Why are some people deviating from the orthodox faith? Why are they allowing modern culture to overwhelm the word of God. They will be highlighting the Lordship of Jesus Christ over his church and over the world. If the Lord is king why are people not following his leadership? Why are people interpreting this word in a way that suits their fancy?

We must also look at the Church of God in our time and the whole area of its mission : what is God doing in our time, responding to the needs of our time – e.g. Aids, poverty, corruption, good and bad governance. We are going to use that conference to address all these issues.

By early May the book will be available. These are very exciting times. On behalf of the Church of Nigeria and GAFCON I want to thank you for spending sleepless nights brainstorming for us to give us the road map that will guide us in our generation.”

Press Questions

What led to the creation of GAFCON? There is the Lambeth Conference and the ACC. There are three bodies. Is the church of USA represented in GAFCON?

Primate: Let me answer the last question first: America as a church is not part of GAFCON. But there are many individual members of the church, bishops, each in his own right that will be part of GAFCON. Officially TEC is not part of GAFCON.

What led to GAFCON? It is a very long story. In the last five years we have had this endless controversy in the Anglican Communion. To the world this is about homosexuality. To us it is just a symptom of the real problem. Homosexuality is not peculiar to Anglicans but Anglicans have the courage to discuss it openly. The issue is that there are members of our Anglican family who are not paying attention to scripture, but are giving prominence to modern culture. They are bringing new principles to interpret scripture. The word of God has precedence over any culture. Those of us who will abide with the Word of God, come rain come fire, are those who are in GAFCON.

Those who say it does not matter are the ones who are attending Lambeth. There might be a view, for whatever it is worth, that they want to be there to observe what is going on. But Uganda, Rwanda, Sydney, Nigeria: we are not going to Lambeth conference. What is the use of the Lambeth conference for a three weeks’ jamboree which will sweep these issues under the carpet. GAFCON will confer about the future of the church, which will set a road map for the future. We are a movement that will move away from the “maybe – maybe not”.

The issue is that church leaders are endorsing what is wrong. They are not willing to make the gospel that the Lord can bring change available. We want to move forward with commitment to the word of God. The question is asked how many people we are. The question is rather how many people we are representing. Four primates who are in the leadership of GAFCON represent more than 30 million Anglicans…

The press conference also refers to the paper Global Anglican Orthodoxy: A Blueprint by Stephen Noll which is available on the GAFCON site.

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L Roberts
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L Roberts

Janus-headed indeed !

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

Most define GAFCON (and it’s organizing accomplices) as Sedition, that is IF we had a “legal authority” at The Anglican Communion:

Sedition.

It’s a term of law which refers to covert conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority as tending toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws.

If the mitre fits, wear it.

Tim
Guest

`since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States’

Well, yeah. What on earth is it to do with him? Never was there clearer expression of failure to understand the polity of independent autonomous Provinces in the Communion. What is wrong with the oversight within TEC? How exactly does this sentence treat the word “orthodox” and what does its use of the word “safe” imply? Now who’s running away from what?

Same old. Not worth the real-estate on my screen.

Wade Bond
Guest

I think those of us who have been following this saga for years saw this coming a long time ago. Akinola and company are forming a non-Canterbury centered communion.

Pluralist
Guest

Other than for the last paragraph, Graham Kings has written a good summary article. It lays out the development towards the separatist group and the fact that so often these groups do exist in separation. The difficulty is that last paragraph. The Covenant is clearly unacceptable to many Churches. It cannot offer any more than some sort of moral authority, and then can be ignored by those against whom it would be applied. If it ever happened that the Covenant was instituted as something acceptable to evangelicals (it will be watered down – it can get nowhere if it wasn’t)… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Nice to see some clear thinking and concise writing for a change.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Simon, we shouldn’t have to go to Stand Firm to discover the Gledhill/Anglican TV interview with you. Don’t hide your light. Can you link it to TA?

Malcolm+
Guest

There is only one reason for the Akinolists to absent themselves from Lambeth.

They know that they have alienated too many moderates and non-schismatic conservatives. They realize they have over-reached. They understand that Cantuar has stacked the deck against their “realignment” scheme being debated – much less passed.

In other words, they know they’ve lost.

GAFCON is the beginning of Plan B – a new and “improved” Anglicanism that, ironically, dispenses with England.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Malcolm, if the Akinolists (it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Sugdenites might be a more appropriate term, isn’t it?) had half the insight with which you credit them, they would not be nearly so far out on the limb as they are. Why should we expect that at this stage in the game they will realize that they have badly over-played their hand? GAFCON has all the symptoms of a PR disaster in the making.

Which reminds me – check out Clumber’s latest:

http://clumber.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/friendinneed-anglican-style.jpg

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Lapin
The reason it is not yet linked is because along with some others, but not everybody, I had problems viewing it.

The anglicantv.org link is this:

http://www.anglicantv.org/blog/index.cfm/2008/1/29/Ruth-Gledhill-Reports-from-England-for-AnglicanTV

but Kevin Kallsen was going to make some changes to that page to work around the problems reported to him. So the page may change its content a bit.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

I tried to access it on three pc’s, two at work, one at home. All required the installation of a new programme before they would display the interview.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

It’s not working for me…the interview, that is.

Viriato da Silva
Guest
Viriato da Silva

At the AnglicanTV link, it says:

“Ruth Gledhill has graciously volunteered to be an AnglicanTV Correspondent in Britain.”

So does this mean that Ms. Gledhill has now openly discarded even the pretense of journalistic objectivity, and at last declared herself openly for the Reasserters and Realigners?

Having trouble getting it to load, so haven’t seen the content itself, but the mere fact of signing on as a “correspondent” for a blatantly partisan propaganda shop suggests something less than objectivity and neutrality. (Not that the latter have seemed much in evidence over time, yet still.)

Malcolm+
Guest

You may be right, Odd Bunny. I’ve often been told one should not ascribe to malice that which can be written off as incompetence.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

If the mitre fits…..

Archbishop jensen does noyt wear a mitre!

GAFCONIAN theology is Protestant ( even though the doors are open to Anglo-Catholics)…sola scriptura.

Why is no one challenging GAFCON to rid its self of the spectre of lay presidency?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Personally I’m just thinking of Jesus words over and over again. Matthew 23:15 There are some souls who claimed to control “the vast majority” of Anglicans aka the African continent. I think of countries such as Kenya and am reminded of Jesus’ words from the above passage “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” Especially when you consider that some of the “redeemed” “loyal” countries are countries… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

+Akinola has given a press conference in Lagos on GAFCON – http://www.gafcon.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=1

Prior Aelred
Guest

Sadly, I have no links, but I certainly recall an interview with Archbishop Jensen from before the time that the Primate of Wales was translated to Canterbury (in violation of Nicea) & therefore long before the people of New Hampshire elected Gene Robinson to be their bishop. In that interview, the Archbishop of Sydney suggested that not only should the bonds of the Anglican Communion be loosened, but that it was perhaps time for a realignment of Anglicanism, with the Evangelicals coalescing around a new (Global South) center.

Graham Kings
Guest

The following is a key quotation from Peter Akinola is: ‘Those of us who will abide with the Word of God, come rain come fire, are those who are in GAFCON. Those who say it does not matter are the ones who are attending Lambeth. There might be a view, for whatever it is worth, that they want to be there to observe what is going on. But Uganda, Rwanda, Sydney, Nigeria: we are not going to Lambeth conference. What is the use of the Lambeth conference for a three weeks’ jamboree which will sweep these issues under the carpet.… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Regarding Dr. Samuels accusations against Tom Wright.

Yet another example of how the “conservatives” are willing to turn on any of their own who will not toe the line. Just as they atacked Poon and Dawani, now they charge that Tom Wright is a racist.

Who plans their tactics? Karl Rove?

badman
Guest
badman

The Akinola press conference (although there are practically no questions) is interesting. Most surprising is the announcement that GAFCON is not really a conference at all – the participants are to be given a book (not the Bible, however!) which tells them what to think (“the road map that will guide us in our generation”). One would have thought that the participants would have conferred first, and the product of the conference would come afterwards. Not in this case. Less surprising is an emerging touchiness on the subject of numbers. Those definitely said not to be going to Lambeth are… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

Stephen Noll’s paper mentioned in the GAFCON press conference piece, gives an idea of the ‘new Commmunion’ being envisaged will be like. http://www.gafcon.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=15 “A presiding Primate should serve as a focus of unity. Canterbury or another historic see could function as a locus of unity as well. However, such a Primate should be elected by the synod of bishops.” An insulting sop to Canterbury, but the primary aim is an elected head of the Communion. Then comes the ‘threat’: “If the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion continues to tolerate heresy in its midst and welcome false teachers to its councils, then the… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

Canon Samuel is described as “Director, Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life Oxford”. That’s Oxford twice, in case you missed it the first time. But its website doesn’t suggest any affiliation with Oxford University, or the diocese of Oxford. It is a company incorporated in December 2005 which filed its first annual accounts in November 2007. Its website lists three directors: Canon Samuel himself, plus Bishop Nazir-Ali of Rochester and Professor Oliver O’Donovan of the University of Edinburgh. Canon Samuel is described as Director Emeritus and Senior Teaching Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford (that’s Oxford… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Akinola is just totally, completely *embarassing* (and I’m not talking about his “humility”!)

The sooner that *Anglicans* can sever ANY sense that Pope Peter represents us in ANY way, the vastly-better for our worldwide mission!

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Graham I’ll watch them play a bit longer. “We’re not coming to Lambeth” might well change to “We’re coming to Lambeth and we’re going to attempt to shove our agenda down the remaining members of the Communions’ throats”. At least there would be honesty in such a strategy. This sentence in the last paragraph of the Primate’s answer posted on this thread made me laugh “They are not willing to make the gospel that the Lord can bring change available. “ Actually, I thought the problem was that people were reading the gospel and allowing change to be available. Offering… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

badman: the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies is nothing grand, despite the name. I lived round the corner from it for years until last summer. It is basically a congregation of Africans who use the redundant church of St Philip and St James in North Oxford, and upon whom a couple of the local misfit Con Evo clergy seem to have pounced in an effort to claim at least a nominal pastoral raison d’etre. Oxford has quite a few clergy with nothing much to do, who seek to share in the kudos of the place’s name.

MJ
Guest
MJ

Interesting that +Akinola has publicly stated that the Sydney bishops will not be attending Lambeth. As far as I’m aware, +Jensen and the others have not, up to this point, made a statement one way or the other. Does Akinola presume too much, or does he know this for certain? The advice of the Sydney Standing Committee to the bishops last year included: (b) “respectfully requests the Archbishop and bishops of this diocese not to accept the invitation to Lambeth without making public in protest, speech and liturgical action, both prior to and at Lambeth, our diocese’s principled objection to… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“They are bringing new principles to interpret scripture. “

And this is bad because–God forbid–we bring new information, better information, improved knowledge (about humanity, sexuality, language, history, etc.) to our understanding of what God intends for us.

All that is required is the knowledge base of two milennia past (or, at best, of 500 years past), no matter how much we might have learned in the meantime.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Regarding “Director, Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life Oxford”, I find it amusing to se this constant re-ferral and association to the Motherland; Empire.

Oak Hill is an Australian plant in England teaching Australian ultra Protestant theology…

Wycliffe College is an American plant for all purposes teaching American consevo theology…

and so on and so on ;=)

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“Oak Hill is an Australian plant in England teaching Australian ultra Protestant theology…” Specifically, a Sydney-originated plant, teaching Sydney-originated ultra Protestant theology. Goran, you either forget or don’t realise that Sydney is, and has always been, the odd diocese out in Australia. They do it out of seniority (with which comes a certain softening of the faculties) as the oldest diocese in the country and the prestige of being the most cashed up. Historically, they are the ones who wanted to maintain closer links to the Church of England when the rest of the Australian Church wanted to establish an… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“If the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion continues to tolerate heresy in its midst and welcome false teachers to its councils,”

To which surely the response is that we will no longer accept those who teach the false doctrines of oppression, jailing the innocent, reviling, lying, slandering, or innovative falsehoods concerning the Sacraments. Those who follow such falsehoods are welcome to attend GAFCON, but are no longer welcome in the councils of the Anglican Church.

Kennedy
Guest
Kennedy

+Akinola said at the press conference

‘But Uganda, Rwanda, Sydney, Nigeria: we are not going to Lambeth conference.’

Funny, I am sure I heard someone say at a recent meeting that we are offering a bishop from one of those countries pre-Lambeth hospitality.

Kennedy

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Goran, you either forget or don’t realise that Sydney is, and has always been, the odd diocese out in Australia. They do it out of seniority (with which comes a certain softening of the faculties) as the oldest diocese in the country and the prestige of being the most cashed up.”— Kieran Crichton With all due respect Kieran, my understanding is that the Diocese of Sydney was established in 1847—along with the Dioceses of Adelaide, Melbourne and Newcastle—out of the old Diocese of Australia. Australia had been an Archdeaconry of the Indian Diocese of Calcutta following its establishment on the… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I bet Jensen didn’t like Akinola speaking for him. Sydney will be at Lambeth….why don’t persons chaallenging GAFCON make reference to the time bomb of lay presidency.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Specifically, a Sydney-originated plant, teaching Sydney-originated ultra Protestant theology.

Goran, you either forget or don’t realise…”

I wouldn’t dream of “tarring” you with anything Kieran… I am simply pointing out how the periphery of an Empire of bygone days hangs on to the vanished dreams of Supremacy and Dominion of the Centre ;=)

Brian R
Guest
Brian R

With all due respect Kieran, my understanding is that the Diocese of Sydney was established in 1847—along with the Dioceses of Adelaide, Melbourne and Newcastle—out of the old Diocese of Australia. .. In 1836 the Rt. Rev. William Grant Broughton (1788 – 1853), was consecrated Australia’s first bishop, but he was never a Bishop of Sydney. The Archdiocese of Sydney is no older, or senior to, Adelaide, Melbourne or Newcastle. From my research Broughton became Bishop of Sydney in 1847. From 1872 until 1933 the Primate of Australia was always the bishop, later archbishop of Sydney. From then until fairly… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Yet the Australian appellate tribunal has given Sydney the green light to activate lay presidency, which my Sydney friends inform me will be done after Lambeth 2008. Sydney’s “daughter” Church, the Church of England in South Africa ( CESA) already has lay presidency and has eliminated the word Catholic from the Creeds, the affirmation of regeneration after baptism and the ordination prayer invoking the forgiveness of sins in its alternative Prayer BOOK. Grape juice at communion in lttle cups. However that Church is riddled with divorce and re-marriage as its Presiding Bishop, Afrikaner Frank Retief is totaally ” liberal” on… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“From my research Broughton became Bishop of Sydney in 1847. From 1872 until 1933 the Primate of Australia was always the bishop, later archbishop of Sydney. From then until fairly recent times it was usually the Archbishop of Sydney. Archbishop Marcus Loane was the last to hold both positions (1978-82) Thankfully in the current climate the Primate of Australia is likely to be anyone OTHER than the Archbishop of Sydney.”— Brian R

Thank you, Brian; I stand corrected. I had thought that Bishop Broughton had retained the title of “Bishop of Australia” until his death in 1853.

Brian R
Guest

“Thank you, Brian; I stand corrected. I had thought that Bishop Broughton had retained the title of “Bishop of Australia” until his death in 1853.” – Kurt
Sorry not to acknowledge you in my precious post Kurt, new to this forum. I would not be dogmatic, unlike my bishop, but that is my reading.
If only we could now remove the automatic mechanism by which +Sydney is metropolitan of the province of NSW. It will be interesting to see if any of the rural bishops join Sydney in boycotting Lambeth and/or attending GAFCON. The only possibility in my view would be +Armidale.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

A new interpretation of Scripture!

Peter Jensen just ordained five women deacons..who are allowed to reach and teach publicly. Only allowed in Sydney since 1989.

In 1920 Lambeth was going to allow Deaconesses to be deacons…but this was repudiated by a last minute appeal to Scripture.

Furthermore justification by faith alone, Scripture alone, the real absence at a non sacrificial eucharist,no prayers for the faithful departed , are all 16th century innovations refuting the early Church!

NO SYDNEY ARE THE INNOVATORS

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The Noll blueprint carefully sidesteps areas of evangelical division…divorce, ordination of women and headship. He makes no reference to the lay presidency time bomb in the hold of the Good ship GAFCON.

It talks of the “self authenticating spirit” of Scripture… which is a bit like the Mormon missionaries who ask you to pray for an authentication of the Book of Mormon.

Yet Scripure tells us the human heart is deceitful above all things.

He talks of heresy and yet he is flexible in his definition, which carefully does not include us! Another exercise in self deception, alas!

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Of course I meant preach not reach in sydney deacons commentary!

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“The Archdiocese of Sydney is no older, or senior to, Adelaide, Melbourne or Newcastle.” Sydney can claim seniority by virtue of being the oldest permanent settlement in Australia, and therefore containing the first Anglican parishes within its diocese. Broughton was based in Sydney during his time as Bishop of Australia, and remained as the “first” bishop of Sydney from 1847. As such, Sydney can claim to be the oldest seat of a bishop in Australia. This is why Sydney was treated as the ‘mother diocese’ during the tortuous process that led to the adoption of the constitution for the Australian… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“None of the responses to my earlier posting negates my essential point: Sydney is, and has always been, the odd diocese out in Australia. The manifestations it has assumed outside its geographical boundaries should not be confused with, or equated to, the rest of Australian Anglicanism.”—kieran crichton

To a Brooklyn boy like me, Kieran, Sydney “Anglicanism” is more than just “odd”; it’s bizarre!

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Yet, kurt they are loyal to Cranmer and his vision of Anglicanism.

Your Faith is the amended version of the ritualists and the rationalists.

Although I think Cranmer would be dubious about lay presidency.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Your Faith is the amended version of the ritualists and the rationalists.” One of the things that enables me to remain Anglican is the idea that, while the English Reformation went too far, we have been able to step back and assess what we did. Reform was imperative. We went about it more conservatively than most, with the result that we had reasonable, though not absolute, success. You see an “amended version”, I see an attempt to correct the more glaring and disturbing errors that crept in at the Reformation. If I actually believed that the Anglican Church as a… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

The Irish author Stephen Neill (who I rather think became a CofI bishop) maintained that there were four streams of Anglican viewpoint about the Reformation:

1. The Reformation was a good thing.
2. The Reformation was mostly a good thing, but there were some bad bits.
3. The Reformation was mostly a bad thing, but there were some good bits.
4. The Reformation was a bad thing.

(This is my paraphrase, not his doubtless more elegant discourse.)

He identified himself with number 2. I’d be closer to number 3. Dr. Jenson clearly favours number 1.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

And, of course, I identify with:

“3. The Reformation was mostly a bad thing, but there were some good bits.”