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."
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?
[b]Primate:[/b] 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.
[b]Archbishop of Lagos:[/b] We could not wait for the members of the GAFCON theology group to come and to have the opportunity to be of service to them. If you did not have the vision to put GAFCON in place, a lot of people all over the place would be frustrated. A lot of people are looking forward to it because they see the goal of the American church is for the church to be a monument. I want to express thanks to the conference of theologians with Archbishop Okoh of Bendel in the chair. Generations unborn will call you blessed.
[b]Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, chair of the GAFCON Theology Resource Group:[/b] On behalf of the theological team we want to express our profound gratitude to the leadership group of GAFCON who have found us worthy to undertake this assignment. Our work has progressed remarkably. We want to express our gratitude to the Archbishop of Lagos as the chairman of the committee looking after us. We are grateful to those who have provided the meals and provided the service. We want to come back here, we hope you will oblige us.
The GAFCON Theology Resource Team Conference focused on Authentic Global Anglicanism. Among the papers presented was one by Rev Professor Stephen Noll, vice-chancellor of Uganda Christian University on The Global Anglican Communion and Anglican Orthodoxy.
Dr. Noll's paper is available here:
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