jQuery Slider

You are here

GAFCON Chairman Says He will not Attend Welby's Gabfest in October with Primates

GAFCON Chairman Says He will not Attend Welby's Gabfest in October with Primates
Everything in the Communion is worse now under Welby than it was under Rowan Williams
Endless debate, the will of the orthodox Primates is frustrated and misrepresented, says Okoh
False teaching is not being corrected, says Nigerian Archbishop
We are living in the midst of the next great Reformation, he says

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
September 5, 2017

The Anglican Primate of Nigeria and chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council says he will not attend a Primates meeting next month in Canterbury called by Justin Welby, because it would only "give credibility to a pattern of behavior which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity."

Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said GAFCON's energies and those of the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to "hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure."

Archbishop Okoh ripped Welby saying that the only difference between the present and 2008, when GAFCON was formed, is that we have a different Archbishop of Canterbury. Everything else is the same or worse.

"There is endless debate, the will of the orthodox Primates is frustrated and misrepresented, false teaching is not being corrected, and nothing is being done to halt orthodox Anglicans in North America (and maybe soon elsewhere) being stripped of the churches that have helped form their spiritual lives."

At the last gathering of primates in Canterbury the Episcopal Church was sanctioned and told it could not make key decisions for the communion, but that was never implemented. Michael Curry was later invited by Welby to meet the Pope in Rome.

"I attended the Canterbury Primates Meeting held in January 2016 because I believed it might be possible to make a new start and change the pattern of repeated failure to preserve the integrity of Anglican faith and order. I was disappointed," wrote Okoh in his September letter to GAFCON followers.

"The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka the following April neutered the Primates' action to distance The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) from Communion decision making. TEC has not repented, and continues to take aggressive legal action against orthodox dioceses. For example, the congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin are currently having to turn over their places of worship to TEC, which has no realistic plan for filling them with worshippers. At the same time, the Diocese of South Carolina is now facing the potential loss of many of its historic buildings."

Okoh says his disappointment was shared by the other Global South Primates who gathered in Cairo last October and he concluded in the communique then that the 'Instruments of Communion' (which include the Primates Meeting of course) are "unable to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide" and do actually help to undermine global mission.

"In these circumstances, I have concluded that attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behavior which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity. Our energies in the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to what is full of hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure."

Okoh counted the argument by Welby that the church should not break fellowship over matters which do not directly go against the ancient creeds of the Church, saying that the Creeds were derived from the Bible, and it is the Bible which is the Church's supreme teaching authority.

This truth is recognized in the GAFCON Jerusalem Statement where it says, "The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal."

Creeds have authority, but only because they are "agreeable" to Scripture, so false teaching is not just what is opposed to the creeds, but what is opposed to Scripture, wrote Okoh.

"This is basic to our Anglican origins and how Anglicans should understand the Church. If Christians are never to break fellowship unless the disagreement is about the teaching of the creeds, the sixteenth century Reformation five hundred years ago, when the great doctrines of grace were at stake, must be seen as an error."

Okoh said the Communion is living in the midst of the next great Reformation. "In our day there is broken fellowship over homosexual practice, same sex marriage and the blurring of gender identity, none of which are mentioned in the Creeds, but all of which contradict fundamental biblical understandings of marriage and human identity.

"The question that GAFCON presents is therefore not a choice between unity or disunity, but what sort of unity? A unity that includes those who persist in rebelling against God's Word is a false unity. So is a unity that undermines collective decision making as a communion. This makes our mission difficult and the purpose of our calling as a global communion becomes questionable. The creeds developed as a way of preserving the true unity of the Church in faithfulness to the Scriptures and that is what GAFCON also seeks to do as we face the challenges of the twenty-first century."

END

Subscribe
Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Barnabas Fund

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top