Time for GAFCON to lay down conditions for Lambeth 2020
By Julian Mann
Jan. 17, 2016
One of the journalists at the Friday press conference in Canterbury after the meeting of Anglican Communion Primates last week noted that there was no GAFCON leader represented. The GAFCON Archbishops apparently had planes to catch.
But it would have been good if GAFCON had held its own press conference on Friday.
Why? Because the Primates' meeting took place in one of the Western Provinces of the Anglican Communion, namely England. There was bound to be push-back by the forces of theological revisionism in the host Province following the announcement of 'consequences' for TEC for authorising same-sex 'marriage'.
A GAFCON press conference would have provided the opportunity for its leaders to seize the initiative and make clear what their conditions are for participation in the next Lambeth Conference, which the Archbishop of Canterbury aspires to convene in 2020.
In any event, the high-level liberal reaction in support of TEC has now already begun and the target is Foley Beach, Archbishop of the orthodox Anglican Church in North America. On the website Lambeth Palace set up for the 2016 Primates' meeting, the following statement appeared on Sunday January 17th:
"On those occasions when the discussion required Primates to privately record a preference or a decision, slips were informally distributed around the tables and then collected. Apart from when the meeting agreed the agenda at the start, it was made clear to Archbishop Foley Beach that it would not be appropriate for him to take part and he was not invited to do so. Given the spirit of the meeting at all times, it is unfortunate that this is misrepresented in recent reports."
GAFCON needs to make clear soon that it will not participate in Lambeth 2020 if the ACNA bishops are not invited. If it does not publicly lay down this condition, then that would allow the revisionist institutional narrative to gain momentum in the Anglican Communion. As is evident from the statement above, that narrative is that the formation of ACNA constitutes a breach of Anglican order on a par with TEC's running ahead of the Communion on same-sex 'marriage'.
The historic Anglican conviction that the Bible is the supreme and final authority in matters of faith and conduct is at stake here. Confessing Anglicans serving the Lord Jesus Christ in Western Provinces where the Bible's authority is being compromised need the GAFCON leaders to defy the institutional narrative and to make clear that confessional commitments must be primary in Anglican order.
Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire, UK --www.oughtibridgechurch.org.uk
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