FT WORTH: The Primates, GAFCON, and the future
Primates Suspend Episcopal Church from Full Participation in the Anglican Communion
By Bishop Jack Iker
January 17, 2016
When I read this headline on the results of last week's meeting of the Anglican Primates in Canterbury, my first thought was, "Well, what took them so long?"
For decades The Episcopal Church has been undermining the historic faith and order of biblical Anglicanism -- most recently by endorsing same-sex marriages. And for years there have been efforts to sanction or discipline TEC for its continuing drift away from orthodox belief and practice. The Windsor Report in 2004 and the Primates Meeting at Dar es Salaam in 2007 both called for specific actions to discipline TEC and called for repentance, but to no avail. There is little reason to believe that anything will change as a result of this most recent decision from the Primates. Already, the leaders of TEC have said as much. They are going to continue to be defiant and autonomous, come what may.
Yes, for three years TEC representatives can no longer serve on ecumenical bodies or be elected or appointed to decision-making bodies of the Anglican Communion. Yes, an overwhelming majority imposed these consequences on TEC for its unfaithfulness to the Scriptures. (The tally was 26 For, 3 Against, and 6 Abstentions.) And yes, TEC has been suspended from full participation in the Anglican Communion. They are reduced to observer status, with seat and voice, but no vote in meetings of various Anglican bodies. All of this is welcome news, and we commend the Primates for the position they have taken.
However, the real good news behind all this is the growing strength and influence of the GAFCON movement, representing the vast majority of Anglicans around the world. They have been increasingly supported by the Global South Primates, and the future of the Anglican Communion lies with the leadership of this new alliance. They recognize the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and have seated our Archbishop, Foley Beach, as a Primate in both bodies. It is very telling that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, followed their lead last week, consenting to this recognition and welcoming Archbishop Beach to the Canterbury meeting, with full seat, voice, and vote. Our place in worldwide Anglicanism is confident and secure.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, GAFCON Chairman, said: "The need for the GAFCON movement is being recognised by an increasing number of people... We long to see a united, confident and courageous witness to God who by the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ has given us an unshakeable hope and assures us of his unfailing love."
Fort Worth stands with him in the pursuit of this goal in the days ahead.
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker is the Bishop of Fort Worth
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