NAIROBI: GAFCON II – One of the many Final Words

Future of the Anglican Communion is now in the hands of Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
AMIE is the life boat to rescue orthodox Anglicans in the UK

NEWS ANALYSIS

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

In one week the Anglican Communion changed forever.

What took place in All Saints’ Cathedral, Nairobi under the banner of GAFCON II was, as predicted, a game changer for the whole Communion.

A number of things happened confirming that.

* The Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) did not lay the groundwork for a separate Communion and the reason is simple. “We are the Anglican Communion,” they said. GAFCON will not break fellowship with Canterbury, but they won’t take their orders from Lambeth Palace about how they do business, either. For many the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer the “symbol of unity” and that also includes the Anglican Communion Office which is viewed by the Global South as a fifth column of duplicity.

* A brief visit by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby bombed when he treated GAFCON delegates like spoiled children who would not play ball with him and the rest of the communion. He breezed in and out before GAFCON started leaving behind a video that was about as weak as a used Darjeeling tea bag in a cup of hot water. He treated the GAFCON delegates like an Anglican side show, demeaning, condescending, and marginalizing the very people who could be closest to him – evangelicals – his real allies. Worst of all, he tried to domesticate them — the biggest insult of all.

* Boundary crossings begun several years ago will not only continue, but also step up apace. Archbishops like Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh will continue to visit their North American parishes without the slightest concern for what US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori or Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz think, do or who they complain to. They will defy any liberal or revisionist bishop or archbishop in the communion.

* Some 330 bishops, including 30 archbishops, said they will recognize Anglicans in places where Biblical faith has been compromised.

* The bishops resolved to expand their leadership to support and recognize such Anglicans; they also voted without dissent to recognize and oversee theologically isolated Anglicans including the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and similar bodies around the Communion including CANA, ANIC and the ACNA.

* GAFCON is effectively a province, said GFAC General Secretary Dr. Peter Jensen. While not a legal province that will be recognized by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) or the ABC, it is effectively a province metaphorically held together in fraternal fellowship.

* “We came to Nairobi seeking God’s guidance for the future. Should we stop? Should we slow down? The bishops told us we must go on,” said Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate and Chairman of GAFCON. That is good news for the gospel, bad news for Archbishop Welby and the revisionist Global North.

* The problems of the communion in the 21st Century articulated by Archbishop Justin Welby, an evangelical, who argued for the “contextualization” of homosexuality proved disastrous. This only cemented the view that he might be more dangerous than his predecessor, Dr. Rowan Williams whose views became more transparent over time, leaving no one in doubt about what he thought. Welby’s refusal to condemn the behavior (but not the person) and his support for the blessing of same sex unions but not gay marriage left Global South leaders distinctly unimpressed. This is a distinction without a difference. Any “blessing” or recognition of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is a non-starter. If the Pilling Report, now circulating in England is true, at least according to one orthodox Anglican blogger, the final draft will propose that the Church of England introduce some form of liturgy that will bless same-sex relationships. If this happens, then the divide between the Global South and Global North will widen to the point of being unbridgeable. No Global South bishop will turn up at the next Lambeth Conference (if there is one) and no orthodox primate will turn up to the next primate’s meeting when Welby calls one. Both are history. The failure of Welby to uphold Lambeth Conference resolution 1:10 is also a black mark against him.

* It is now apparent that the de facto schism in the communion, precipitated by Dr. Rowan Williams and his failure to enforce Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10, will only continue under Archbishop Welby.

* The Office of Canterbury has not been the same since Lambeth 2008 when 300 orthodox Anglican bishops were no shows. The ABC no longer has the drawing power; the views he aired briefly in Nairobi confirmed that.

* The Kenyan Archbishop accused “powerful and well-funded organizations working to see Kenya and other African nations adopt the same values which are causing so much havoc to faith, family and society in the West.” He was pointing the finger at The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church of England for their efforts to export their pansexual agenda on African soil, while British newspaper commentators like Andrew Brown hurl “homophobic” charges at East African Anglicans. TEC has completely won over Southern Africa, but more recently pushed tens of thousands of dollars into the Tanzanian elections and succeeded in getting an agreement that the new archbishop, Dr. Jacob Chimeledya would not attend GAFCON. He didn’t. Neither did his predecessor, Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa, though his predecessor Archbishop Donald Mtetemela did. The Episcopal Church was also successful in keeping the Bishop of Jerusalem Suheil Dawani out of GAFCON I when the PB sent Colorado Rob Bishop O’Neill to Jerusalem to keep his feet to the fire of TEC’s largess. More recently the former and current ultra-liberal Secretaries General of the Anglican Communion Council, Kenneth Kearon and John Peterson were installed as Honorary Canons of Christ Church Cathedral, Cape Coast, Ghana — another liberal intrusion into Africa. Money from liberal Western pan Anglican provinces is increasingly being used as a weapon to infiltrate orthodox African dioceses and primates to win them over to its agenda. This will only grow; archbishops like Wabukala and Okoh know this. Congo is also in the sights of TEC.

* Paralysis in the Anglican Communion has intensified in the last five years. A much bally-hoed Anglican covenant has failed to bring discipline to the Anglican Communion. In truth, the covenant is now dead on arrival. Barely a handful of provinces have signed on to it.

* There was an acknowledgement that the nations, which were once spiritual powerhouses of a worldwide mission, have now become deeply secularized and even hostile to the Christian faith. The churches of those lands have more often than not been strongly influenced by the societies in which they are set. Question. Who would want to sit down with Jefferts Schori, Fred Hiltz, Barry Morgan or Justin Welby after this?

* Wabukala said the threat of violence from Islamic extremism is not nearly as dangerous as the rot pushed by liberals from the West that is tearing at the fabric of the Communion. “This is a much more insidious process by which weak churches are gradually being taken captive by the surrounding culture.” Again, what possible reason would GAFCON bishops have for sitting down with anybody from the global North for doctrine or drinks.

* The evangelical Kenyan archbishop described the Global Anglican Future conference as a place where the gospel has taken root and, by its very nature, global – not merely because of our history, but because the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ to “all nations.” The Great Commission has been abandoned by Global North primates.

* The lifeboats launched to rescue orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans in the Anglican Communion — CANA, ANIC and ACNA — have now been drawn into the mother ship – the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA). A new Anglican Mission in England (AMIE) was publicly recognized and launched. In time will there be an Anglican Mission in Ireland (AMII) and possibly Scotland? How will Welby handle this when these tanks land on his Lambeth Palace lawn? Will he look out his window and express surprise to find an AMIE tank gun pointing directly at him.

* Never, never, never underestimate the power and determination of the Nigerians. Of the nearly 1400 present at GAFCON II, fully one third (456) were from the largest province in the communion. They are by far the staunchest, most orthodox, no nonsense of all the African provinces. Of all the provinces they are experiencing the worst in persecution at the hands of Boko Haran. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh stood up to Dr. Rowan Williams and ripped him one when he announced he was retiring early calling him the worst archbishop ever, leaving the Anglican Communion in tatters and disarray. They are nearly 20 million strong, financially self-supporting, will not tolerate anything remotely supporting the western Anglican gay agenda and as proof of this, one of their number the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Olisa Chukkwuma, said on his return to Abuja that the Anglican Bishops in Nigeria and the entire Bishops of the Anglican Communion of the Global South would pull out from the Church of England, if the Archbishop of Canterbury continues to recognize gay marriages, homosexuality, lesbianism and all other forms of social vices that permits same sex marriage.

* “We shall continue to work within the Anglican Communion for its renewal and reform.” So ends the GAFCON2013 Communique and Commitment. The deeper question now is, is that possible? The “renewal and reform” coming in the Global North is coming by disassociating itself from TEC and the ACoC. The millions being spent on litigation costs is slowly sinking TEC in its blind hatred of orthodox Anglicans.

* Commenting on the Communique, former Rochester Bishop Michael Nazir Ali noted, “Many orthodox Anglicans and their friends have been grateful to the orthodox Primates and bishops who have been able to assist people and churches who were left in great distress by moral and doctrinal compromise in their own provinces and dioceses. The continuation of such a relationship through GAFCON remains an important element as the struggle for the soul of the Communion continues. GAFCON is a major means of fellowship among orthodox Anglicans – evangelical, charismatic and catholic – allowing them to play a significant role in a biblical future for Anglicanism.”

* The Communique embraced major Anglican traditions: “As a response to the crisis, we adopted The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which commits us to biblical faithfulness, and has since provided the framework for renewed Anglican orthodoxy to which we – Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Charismatics – are committed…”

* On marriage and same-sex attraction: GAFCON grieves “that several national governments, aided by some church leaders, have claimed to redefine marriage and have turned same-sex marriage into a human rights issue…..We want to make clear that any civil partnership of a sexual nature does not receive the blessing of God. We continue to pray for and offer pastoral support to Christians struggling with same-sex temptation who remain celibate in obedience to Christ and affirm them in their faithfulness.”

* GAFCON is more than a network. While light on ecclesiology, the Communique announced: “We have resolved to be more than a network. We are an effective expression of faithful Anglicanism and therefore, we must organize ourselves in a way that demonstrates the seriousness of our objectives: proclaiming and contending for the gospel of Jesus Christ, building the fellowship, authorizing and affirming faithful Anglicans who have been excluded by their diocese or province…discerning the need for new provinces, dioceses and churches – and then authenticating their ministries and orders as Anglican.”

* GFAC said they will organize around a Primates’ Council, a Board of Trustees, an Executive Committee and regional liaison officers, who will be involved in fostering communication among FCAs.

* “We invite provinces, dioceses, mission agencies, local congregations and individuals formally to become contributing members of the GFCA. We ask provinces to reconsider their support for those Anglican structures that are used to undermine biblical faithfulness and contribute instead, or additionally, to the financing of the GFCA’s on-going needs.” In so many words, The ACC, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference can no longer be trusted as instrument s of unity and the Global South must look elsewhere and, if necessary, form their own.

The GAFCON Jerusalem cross that was brought to Nairobi from the first 2008 conference will now remain there.

END

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