REFORM PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR GAFCON MOVEMENT
Reform, the 1,700-strong conservative evangelical network, has pledged support for the initiatives of GAFCON at its annual conference in London.
Revd Rod Thomas, Reform’s chairman, welcomed the clear Biblical leadership given by the GAFCON Primates at the Jerusalem meeting in June 2008, saying that there “we saw what an Anglicanism united in the Gospel and dedicated to mission could look like.”
He highlighted two key areas for Reform in the coming year: developing alternative oversight and growing gospel fellowships.
“Seeking alternative oversight is not necessarily a confrontational act,” he said. “Many Reform members work well with their Bishops, and they need our support not our rebuke.” He encouraged the House of Bishops to develop “English solutions” for the provision of alternative oversight for 25 congregations in the UK who are currently in impaired communion with or being denied oversight from their bishop, and for many others who would be unwilling to receive oversight from a female bishop in the future. However he also warned that “we must take forward the agenda of alternative oversight even if the Church of England cannot currently find a way to accommodate it”.
Concerning growing gospel fellowships he encouraged Reform members to co-operate with other evangelical and orthodox Anglicans to build on the “huge momentum” created by the UK church leaders briefing on GAFCON on July 1st at All Souls church in London. “Co-operation won’t be possible on every issue,” he said “but we now have a unique opportunity to encourage one another in gospel partnership.”
Reform council member Revd Paul Perkin urged church councils as well as individuals to declare their support for the Jerusalem Declaration, the statement issued by GAFCON as the theological basis of the movement and also announced plans to form a Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK.
The conference voted overwhelmingly to pass three resolutions:
- This conference welcomes the outcome of GAFCON, pledges the support of Reform for the resulting initiatives and calls on evangelicals in the Church of England to show more courage in promoting the gospel and resisting heretical teaching.
- This conference recognizes that when bishops accommodate themselves to heretical teaching they deny the faith and therefore abandon their sees. In these circumstances it is vital that alternative oversight should be provided.
- This conference calls on the House of Bishops to recognize that pursuing the General Synod resolution on the preparation of legislation to allow the consecration of women bishops will permanently damage and narrow the Church of England. We urge the house to prevent this by presenting alternative proposals to the General Synod to preserve the ministry of those who maintain a Biblically orthodox position.
The conference also pledged its unanimous support to the parishes in Vancouver who are facing legal battles with the Diocese of New Westminster as follows:
We the undersigned as active clergy and lay members of the Church of England stand with those parishes in Vancouver that are part of the Anglican Network in Canada, affirming that they are authentically Anglican.
An on-line petition has been established for those who wish to support this: